Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has ended his primary challenge against President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, telling reporters Tuesday that the impeachment inquiry against the president kept his campaign from gaining traction.
What are the details?
"Call me a casualty of the impeachment process," Sanford said in explaining the suspension of his White House bid. "On the Republican side, there is no oxygen in the room for other issues. And the purpose of the campaign was to try and raise and elevate a discussion and debate about where are we going as a country."
"You've got to be a realist," Sanford added, standing outside the New Hampshire statehouse during a news conference, according to CNBC. "What I did not anticipate is an impeachment."
He added, "It was a long shot, but we wanted to try and interject this issue, how much we're spending, into the national debate which comes along once every four years. I don't think on the Republican side there is any appetite for a nuanced conversation on issues when there's an impeachment overhead."
According to Politico, Sanford made the "surprise" announcement just 60 days after he entered the race.
Upon announcing his candidacy in September, Sanford told Fox News, "I think we need to have a conversation about what it means to be a Republican. I think that as a Republican party we have lost our way."
The Associated Press reported that "Sanford's departure from the race is the latest blow to the struggling 'Never Trump' movement that has failed to attract a marquee GOP challenge for Trump this cycle." Recent polling shows President Trump currently enjoys the support of 87 percent of Republican voters.
Two other Republican challengers remain in the race: Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh.
Weld had kind words for Sanford upon Tuesday's news, tweeting, "@MarkSanford has always been a voice of intelligence & vision in a political arena where such qualities are increasingly scarce. I will miss seeing my old friend on the 2020 Presidential trail — but I know he will always be fighting in important ways for the country we both love."
.@MarkSanford has always been a voice of intelligence & vision in a political arena where such qualities are increa… https://t.co/nRdTyltFQX— Gov. Bill Weld (@Gov. Bill Weld) 1573582729.0
According to the AP, Walsh reacted by saying in an interview that he never understood why Sanford even entered the race. "This isn't about the debt and this isn't about tariffs and it's not about any issue," Walsh said. "Trump's unfit. It's an emergency, and that's the only reason you get into a primary against a sitting president."