Will Hurd ends Republican presidential bid and endorses Nikki Haley

<span>Photograph: Scott Morgan/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Scott Morgan/Reuters
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The former Texas congressman Will Hurd has ended his long-shot bid to secure the Republican nomination for US president and has instead endorsed Nikki Haley, the ex-governor of South Carolina.

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Hurd is a relatively moderate GOP member and critic of the party’s subservience to Donald Trump, who remains the clear frontrunner for the Republicans’ 2024 election nomination. But Hurd has failed to garner much support during a brief presidential campaign.

“Unfortunately, it has become clear to me and my team that the time has come to suspend our campaign,” Hurd wrote in a statement. “While I appreciate all the time and energy our supporters have given, it is important to recognize the realities of the political landscape and the need to consolidate our party around one person to defeat both Donald Trump” and Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.

Hurd only launched his presidential campaign in June and has struggled to make a mark on a contest that has been overwhelmingly dominated by Trump, Biden’s presidential predecessor. Hurd said the best option for the Republicans is now Haley, who was once Trump’s top US representative to the United Nations.

Hurd said Haley “has shown a willingness to articulate a different vision for the country than Donald Trump and has an unmatched grasp on the complexities of our foreign policy”.

A former CIA officer and member of the House of Representatives for three terms until 2021, Hurd was the House’s only Black Republican in his final two years there. His district was a competitive one that encompassed the outskirts of El Paso and San Antonio.

Hurd was the only contender in the Republican presidential field, beside former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has been a staunch critic of Trump. He claimed that he was barred from the first Republican debate in August for refusing to sign a pledge of fealty to the eventual nominee.

The party has said Hurd fell short in polling and donor numbers required to make the stage.

“If Donald Trump is leading in the polls, and he’s your opponent, then kissing his butt is not going to help you win,” Hurd said in August, adding that Trump has “legal baggage” and was a “proven loser”.

The twice-impeached Trump, a former reality TV host, remains the substantial favorite for the Republican nomination among primary voters. This is despite his 91 felony counts for an array of alleged crimes, including his attempts to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat to Biden, for risking national security secrets and for falsifying business records in relation to a hush-money payment to a porn star.

On the campaign trail in recent months, Trump has vowed revenge against Democrats and others who he feels have been disloyal to him, suggested that a top US military general should be executed, threatened to investigate media companies for critical coverage of him, falsely suggested that wind turbines are killing whales and, in rhetoric reminiscent of Nazi-era Germany, said that undocumented immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country”.