US Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race.
He had hoped to become the first African-American to secure the Republican nomination.
He told Fox News: “I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me: ‘Not now, Tim.'”
Although Tim Scott was very well funded, he failed to make an appreciable impact in opinion polls.
He has not endorsed any of the remaining candidates and he ruled out running for vice-president.
“I’ll be honest with you: I ran for president to be president,” he told Fox host and personal friend Trey Gowdy in the interview on Sunday, saying being vice-president was not on his “to-do list”.
Having entered the race in May for the Republican nomination, Mr Scott, 58, presented himself as a deeply conservative candidate who could do a better job of healing US political divisions than former US President Donald Trump.
He ran on a mostly positive message, promising to revive the US’s “culture of greatness”, and touted his personal story as an embodiment of the American dream.
The grandson of a Deep South cotton field worker, he spoke of being raised by a single mother and of how his family had risen “from cotton to Congress” in his grandfather’s lifetime.
His decision to withdraw from the Republican presidential campaign came shortly after the third presidential debate last week in Miami.
Mr Scott was often overshadowed on the debate stage by other candidates and his optimistic campaign message failed to catch on with voters – he faced the possibility of not qualifying for the next Republican debate on 6 December.
Mr Trump, the frontrunner in the race with a commanding lead over his Republican rivals, has not participated in the televised debates.
Mr Scott’s decision to suspend his campaign came as a surprise to a number of his staff, according to the BBC’s US media partner CBS.
“It was a shock to nearly everyone on the campaign and most people found out in real time,” one campaign aide told CBS.
Mr Scott is the second high-profile exit from the crowded 2024 race for US president.
Former Vice-President Mike Pence, 64, withdrew from the race in late October after also struggling to gain the support of Republican voters.
Mr Scott’s decision came just two months before the presidential primary season kicks off in Iowa.
A recent CBS News/YouGov poll estimated he had just 4% of voters’ support, putting him fifth place in the Republican race and trailing behind Mr Trump.
Some major donors who supported Mr Scott, who has been a US senator since 2013, say they are now switching their allegiance to former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who is also from South Carolina.
In a Sunday night post on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Ms Haley called Mr Scott “a good man of faith and a inspiration to so many”.
“The Republican primary was made better by his participation in it.”