'Not now.' Sen. Tim Scott drops out of 2024 presidential election days after GOP debate

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. said Sunday that he was suspending his 2024 presidential campaign, less than a week after the third GOP primary debate.

Scott made the announcement to Fox News' Trey Gowdy, his fellow South Carolinian who also served in Congress.

“I love America more today than I did on May 22. But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign,” Scott said. The lawmaker did not immediately endorse another Republican in the 2024 presidential race, and he denied that his campaign was an effort to become vice president.

"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.'" Scott added. "I don't think they're saying, Trey, no, but I do think they're saying not now. And so I'm going to respect the voters, and I'm going to hold on and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.

The senator launched his 2024 presidential bid in May, when he sought to offer a more optimistic vision for Republican voters and Americans across the country alike. He also had a substantial $22 million squirreled away for his bid.

Scott, the only Black Republican senator, in a kickoff at Charleston Southern University, his alma mater, told supporters that “our party and our nation are standing at a time for choosing: Victimhood or victory.”

“I choose freedom and hope and opportunity,” Scott said at the time, telling the crowd ”we need a president who persuades not just our friends and our base.”

But Scott's campaign struggled to pick up steam. In a Real Clear Politics average of polls on the GOP field, Scott garnered 2.5%, compared to former President Donald Trump's 58.5%.

Scott on Sunday referenced a passage from the Bible, Romans 8:28, saying "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose."

Scott's faith has been not only a cornerstone of his bid for the White House but also for his political career.

"I see myself first as a biblical leader and not as a Republican or conservative leader," Scott said during a 2020 video conference with students at Bob Jones University, which is known for its conservative cultural and religious positions.

"I am first a Christian," he added. "And it is the thing I have chosen to be above all other things."

Scott has even focused on his faith while fielding questions about his personal life. The senator revealed earlier this year that he is dating "a lovely Christian girl."

“I’m so thankful to know a risen savior that has helped guide my way, and I’m so thankful that he’s allowed my life to intersect at the right time with the right person. And I just say, praise the living God,” he said during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet.

Scott's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Contributing: Phillip M. Bailey and David Jackson, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tim Scott, the SC senator, drops out of 2024 presidential election