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Scott Walker Drops Out of 2016 Race

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 02: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and possible Republican presidential candidate speaks during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the leading Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak during the event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

UPDATE: 6:08 p.m. ET: At a news conference, Scott Walker confirmed that he will suspend his presidential campaign.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped out of the the presidential race Monday, and without endorsing another candidate, called for a conservative alternative to Donald Trump.

"Today I believe 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. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately," Walker said in Madison, Wisconsin.

"I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can focus on a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner," Walker said, regarding Trump.

Walker is the second candidate to drop out, leaving the still-crowded GOP presidential field with 15 candidates.

Walker once led comfortably in Iowa and even in some national polls, but neither of his debate performances were particularly strong.

A CNN poll after the last Republican debate showed Walker had plummeted to 0 percent.

The New York Times was the first to report Walker was quitting the race. 

Walker had touted himself as the battle-tested conservative governor in a blue state who won three times in four years. Many observers also viewed him as a good balance for tea party voters and establishment Republicans.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first to depart, but his exit from the presidential race was less surprising, as he never caught fire – in contrast to Walker, who until recently had been a top tier candidate.

Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin in 2010, promising to reign in the state’s pension system. He gained national fame in battling state-employee unions. The unions pushed a recall election in 2012, which Walker won, then went on to get re-elected handily in 2014.

Walker scolded the rest of the field for the negative tone, but it was particularly seemed aimed at Trump.

"Ronald Reagan was good for America because he was an optimist," Walker said. "Sadly the debate taking place in the Republican party today is not focused on that optimism. Instead, it has drifted into personal attacks. In the end, I believe voters want to be for something and not against something. Instead of hearing how bad things are, we want to hear how we can make them better for everyone."

This post was updated to include comments from Walker.

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