COLUMBIA, South Carolina (REUTERS, AFP) – Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Saturday (Feb 20) he was suspending his campaign after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina Republican primary.
“Tonight, I am suspending my campaign,” Bush said after his loss in South Carolina, appearing to fight back tears. “I’m proud of the campaign that we have run to unify our country.”
Bush, who also fared poorly in earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, said the race had been “hard fought” but that voters of those three states had spoken.
“The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision,” Bush said in Columbia. He finished far out of the running in each of the first three states.
In what appeared to be a jab at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, whom Bush has accused of lacking ideas, the former Florida Governor said,“ideas matter, policy matters.”
Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother to former President George W. Bush, entered the 2016 campaign as the favourite, but was unable to convert a sizable fundraising advantage into success at the polls.
He had gone all-out to improve his standing in South Carolina, with his brother hitting the campaign trail on his behalf, but failed to connect with voters. The 62-year-old Bush never could shed the narrative that he was a tarnished candidate unable to generate enthusiasm for yet another Bush presidency amid the current appetite for outsiders like Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.