Sanford failed to gain traction among Republican voters in the roughly two months since he formally announced his campaign, which largely focused on addressing the national debt.
“I am suspending my race for the presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” he said in his announcement at the New Hampshire Statehouse on Tuesday.
In October, Sanford described Trump as the “king of debt” and accused the president of leading the nation “in the wrong direction.”
On Tuesday, he said he would still seek to prioritize the issue.
2020 Watch-New: @MarkSanford -at a news conf. outside the NH Statehouse, tells reporters "I'm going to suspend my campaign and I'm going for look for other ways in which to advance this incredibly timely, important, but now out of season issue" #nhpolitics #scpol #2020Election pic.twitter.com/voQJTK6RUb
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) November 12, 2019
“I’m going to look for other ways in which to advance this incredibly timely, important, but now out-of-season issue,” Sanford said after his announcement.
Trump’s steadfast support from most Republican officials and voters, coupled with his massive campaign war chest, has created a daunting path for those seeking to unseat him from within the GOP.
A Gallup poll conducted last month showed Trump with a 41% approval rating across political parties, but an 89% approval rating from Republicans.
In September, a Trump campaign spokesman shrugged off Sanford’s decision to run, calling it “irrelevant.” Asked about Sanford’s exit from the race, the spokesman told HuffPost in a statement: “His candidacy had escaped our attention.”
This story has been updated with additional information about Sanford’s run and additional comment from Trump’s campaign.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.