Mark Sanford exits GOP presidential primary

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE on Tuesday ended his long shot bid to unseat President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president 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) WeldWeld says Trump wants reporters to 'roam free' in Iran, but not US Trump primary challengers left off Wisconsin ballot Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump MORE and former Illinois Rep. Joe WalshJoe WalshWalsh plans protest at RNC headquarters over 'nakedly anti-Democratic' primary cancellations Pelosi announced as lead guest on season premiere of 'Real Time with Bill Maher' Rep. Collins says Democrats are 'in love with terrorists,' 'mourn Soleimani' 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.