Mark Sanford exits GOP presidential primary

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark SanfordMark SanfordGOP braces for wild week with momentous vote Lobbying world 5 lawyers leave Trump impeachment team ahead of trial: reports MORE on Tuesday ended his long shot bid to unseat President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors 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. 


“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) WeldRalph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden visits Kenosha | Trump's double-voting suggestion draws fire | Facebook clamps down on election ads Biden picks up endorsements from nearly 100 Republicans MORE and former Illinois Rep. Joe WalshJoe WalshGOP lawmakers mourn death of Rush Limbaugh Sacha Baron Cohen pens op-ed on the dangers of conspiracy theories Sunday shows preview: Protests continue over shooting of Blake; coronavirus legislation talks remain at impasse 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.