US Senator Tim Scott has suspended his campaign to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination after failing to gain enough traction in the polls to compete with his rivals.
“When I go back to Iowa it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign,” Mr Scott told Fox News on Sunday night.
Mr Scott, the junior senator from South Carolina, announced his candidacy in May by trying to offer a more optimistic message than former president Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
But after months of campaigning and appearing in two televised Republican debates, Mr Scott failed to gain ground on others in the race.
“I think the voters … have been really clear that they're telling me, 'Not now Tim,'” Mr Scott said.
His decision came as a surprise to members of his staff, with some campaign aides saying he did not notify them in advance of his decision, Fox News reported.
Mr Scott added he does not intend to endorse another candidate for the Republican nomination, nor does he intend to be the running mate for whoever wins the nomination.
With his departure from the race, the Republican field is beginning to narrow.
Seven candidates remain, with Mr Trump still the clear front-runner. Mr DeSantis remains a distant second.
Reacting to Mr Scott's withdrawal, Mr DeSantis praised the senator as a “strong conservative with bold ideas about how to get our country back on track”.
Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who also is from South Carolina, is reserving $10 million in advertising across early-voting states to overtake Mr DeSantis in the race, AP reported.
Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson remain long-shot candidates.