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Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott suspends his campaign for president

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8. Just 4 days later, Scott announced he is suspending his bid for the White House in an interview on Fox News.
Rebecca Blackwell
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AP
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8. Just 4 days later, Scott announced he is suspending his bid for the White House in an interview on Fox News.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is ending his bid for the presidential nomination on the GOP ticket. He announced his move on the Fox News program Sunday Night in America, surprising host Trey Gowdy, who was not expecting it.

Scott announced his run in May and his candidacy centered on his Christian faith and experience as a Black man growing up with a single mom in the South.

Scott's candidacy also highlighted the lonesome position he took on more than a decade ago in GOP leadership: he is one of just three Black members of the Senate, and the only Republican.

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Scott first entered politics in 2010 after winning South Carolina's 1st District, which excited the state's Republican establishment as they tried to broaden their appeal to Black voters. He continued to ride the Tea Party wave when his current competitor, then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, appointed him as the junior senator in 2012.

On the campaign trail, Scott often pointed to his life and rise in politics as proof of concept in America as the land of opportunity — the place where resilience and optimism can take people places.

"It's a blessing to come from a state like South Carolina, where a kid who grows up in a single-parent household mired in poverty can one day even think about being president of the United States," he said in April. "Only made in America is my story."

While speaking with voters, Scott spoke of his personal story growing up the child of a single mother. He liked to tell them about how he came to learn the fundamentals of conservatism: When he was a failing student working at a Chick-fil-A, the store's manager took young Scott under his wing and transformed his life.

For the argument to come from him, a Black and Christian conservative — that structural racism is not as grave as Democrats make it out to be — had held weight among some white voters. The same could not be said, though, for Black voters, who found this idea foreign to their own experiences.

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Scott's performances in the last three GOP debates didn't help bolster his case, either. He failed to make meaningful impressions, often fading into the background. He was unlikely to qualify for the fourth Republican debate in Alabama.

Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, continues to be the presumptive nominee as he keeps his dominating lead over the candidate field.

At one point, though, the story looked like it might go differently. In the summer, the senator had raised $5.8 million as donors were eager to bolster candidates that could've potentially challenged Trump's stronghold over the party.

As Scott continued to underperform in national polling over the last few months though, major donors began to pull out of his campaign. Trust in the Mission PAC, one of Scott's largest supporters, told donors it would cut fall ad buys for the senator, writing, "We aren't going to waste our money when the electorate isn't focused or ready for a Trump alternative."

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Jeongyoon Han