Jeb Bush Drops Out Of GOP Race — REPORT


The Associated Press reported late on Saturday that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had dropped out of the 2016 GOP presidential race, following disappointing numbers in the South Carolina Republican primary this weekend. Official numbers out of the Palmetto State showed the former governor with just over 8 percent support on Saturday night, placing Bush at the bottom of the GOP pack, just ahead of former rival Ben Carson, who came in at just under 7 percent. According to the news outlet, Bush stated that he was "proud" of the campaign he had run.

"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision," Bush told a crowd of supporters, becoming visibly emotional, according to CNN reporters. "So tonight I am suspending my campaign."

In response to the news, former senior Obama advisor David Axelrod took to Twitter to voice his own thoughts on the decision. "@jebbush didn't fit the angry mood of this primary season," Axelrod wrote. "It is a hard, challenging thing to run for POTUS.  I don't agree [with] @JebBush on things, but he is a decent and honorable man."

Going into South Carolina, Bush carried around 10.7 percent of the GOP vote in most major polls, according to a Real Clear Politics average, ahead of both Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who held 6.8 and 9 percent respectively. However, Bush still trailed the pack on the national front, heading into the weekend with just 5.4 percent overall.

It was those dismal numbers that may have acted as the final straw on an already labored campaign. The New York Times on Saturday night bemoaned the fact that "no single candidacy this year fell so monumentally short of its original expectations" after kicking off the election season on such a high note.

Certainly, front-runner Donald Trump's elevated attacks in recent weeks did nothing to help Bush's floundering numbers. At the last GOP primary debate in Greenville, South Carolina on Feb. 13, Trump upped the ante even further, shouting degradations at Bush and pinning him to what Trump claimed was brother George W. Bush's failed legacy. "The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush," Trump scolded.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Jeb Bush (R) repond to each other as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) listens during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In response, Bush had decried Trump's remarks, refusing to distance himself from the topic. "I’m sick and tired of him going after my family," Bush lamented. "My dad is the greatest man alive, in my mind, [and] my mom is the strongest woman I know." Trump lashed back, joking, "She should be running."

Bush never seemed to improve after that brutal collision, despite the fact that his numbers rose marginally over the following days.

On Saturday, fellow Florida stalwart Marco Rubio, who was once Bush's protege and who surprisingly overtook the former governor in both poll numbers and endorsements as the 2016 campaign progressed, spoke to a crowd of his own supporters, thanking them for his narrow, second-place lead over rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and congratulating Bush on his hard-fought efforts. "I have an incredible affection and admiration, not just for Governor Bush, but for his family and their service to this country," Rubio stated. "Jeb Bush has many things to be proud of."