Mark Sanford exits GOP presidential primary

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump becomes presumptive GOP nominee after sweeping primaries Boston Globe endorses Trump's GOP challenger Bill Weld Trump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid MORE on Tuesday ended his long shot bid to unseat President TrumpDonald John TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' MORE for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. 

Sanford's campaign announced his intent to bow out of the race in a statement following a press conference in New Hampshire. 

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“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. 

"From day one, I was fully aware of how hard it would be to elevate these issues with a sitting president of my own party ignoring them," Sanford added. "Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment."

The former congressman also said he hopes to "find new ways" to address issues like the national debt. 

His exit leaves two other GOP challengers to Trump still in the race: former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldTrump becomes presumptive GOP nominee after sweeping primaries Trump sweeps through mini-Super Tuesday primaries Trump glides to victory in Super Tuesday GOP primaries MORE and former Illinois Rep. Joe WalshJoe WalshTrump becomes presumptive GOP nominee after sweeping primaries Trump sweeps through mini-Super Tuesday primaries Trump glides to victory in Super Tuesday GOP primaries MORE

Sanford announced his entry to the GOP field in September, saying that Republicans "have lost our way" in the Trump era.

He particularly expressed concern about the national deficit. 

Upon his entry to the race, Sanford was mocked by Trump for his years-ago extramarital affair, as well as his defeat to a 2018 House primary challenger who as backed by the president.

Sanford, in an interview with The Hill last month, called Trump "unhinged" and "insecure."

"Everybody is stupid compared to him," he said. "I don’t understand the insecurity. I don’t know what daddy didn’t do for him. I don’t want to try to figure it out."

Trump has consistently led his challengers by wide margins in polling and has a high approval rating among Republicans. 

Some states have also canceled their primary contests in support of the president, creating another obstacle for his challengers. 

—Updated at 1:20 p.m.