WASHINGTON: The man once considered a rising star of the Republican Party said Monday he is pulling out of the race for the White House, appearing to take a swipe at frontrunner Donald Trump.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was just the latest victim of Trump’s surprise surge in the polls to win the Republican nomination for 2016.
“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Walker said in Madison, Wisconsin.
“With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”
Walker said that he was disappointed that the crowded field was full of personal sniping and not a positive focus — in a not-particularly veiled reference to Trump.
“In the end, I believe that the voters want to be for something, and not against someone. Instead of talking about how bad things are, we want to hear how we can make them better. We need to get back to the basics of our party,” he stressed.
Of the 17 initial Republican candidates, 15 remain after Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, dropped out on September 11.
The 47-year-old Walker started the year with a bang and was even leading in some polls in the spring.
But his star has been on the wane since, coinciding with the emergence of Trump as a genuine contender for the Republican ticket.
Walker’s approval rating has plummeted, falling to nearly zero in a CNN poll published Sunday.
Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for rival Marco Rubio, said that he believed Walker was quitting the race for one simple reason.
“People don’t stop running for president because they run out of ideas… they stop running because they run out of money,” Sullivan said at a National Review event.