Former Florida governor Jeb Bush ended his campaign in South Carolina on Saturday night, as early returns indicated a distant finish behind even the second tier of candidates.
“The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign,” said Bush.
With 60 percent of precincts reporting just before 9 p.m., Bush had just a little over 8 percent of the vote. well behind frontrunner Donald Trump but even a good distance behind US Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who were around 20 percent support.
LISTEN TO BUSH’S SPEECH (6:30)
Bush is in a close race with Ohio Governor John Kasich for fourth place among Republicans in the state. Both were separated by less than a percentage point with 60 percent of precincts reporting.
The former governor was never able to get momentum in his campaign after last summer. He never eclipsed 10 percent in South Carolina polls from September until earlier this month after other candidates dropped out following Iowa and New Hampshire.
He had invested heavily in a strong South Carolina performance, making dozens of stops in the Palmetto State even before the Iowa Caucus. He had picked up the endorsement of US Sen. Lindsey Graham and various military leaders, hoping to win over veterans. However, precinct polling seemed to indicate veterans had largely gone to Trump in South Carolina.