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November 13, 2023

Exit Tim Scott

The South Carolina senator says he got the message from voters: “Not now, Tim.”

The Republican presidential field got one candidate smaller over the weekend, and Business Insider has the scoop: “Tim Scott drops out of GOP primary race after girlfriend reveal.”

Okay, there’s little reason to think those two things are related, but we suppose that headline is par for the course with sensational media.

Actually, South Carolina Senator Scott broke the news while talking to fellow Palmetto State native and former Representative Trey Gowdy on Fox News. “I love America more today than I did on May 22nd,” Scott said of the date he launched his bid, “but when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. 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.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘No,’ but I do think they’re saying, ‘Not now.’”

Indeed, Scott’s campaign never did really gain traction, mired in sixth place with a polling average hovering in the low single digits. He said he hopes the people of South Carolina love him half as much as he loves them, and he’ll continue to serve them as long as they’ll have him. He added that he has no plans for endorsing anyone else in the GOP field just yet, and he isn’t interested in being anyone’s running mate.

A few minutes after Scott’s announcement, Gowdy said what many of us were thinking: “We wish him all the best and thank him for his continued service to the country. He really is one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

Scott is a genuinely kind, charming, and thoughtful guy. He is, in fact, the quintessential Nice Guy. He’s a caring Christian with an eternally upbeat and optimistic attitude. He has a compelling backstory of rising from poverty to reach the U.S. Senate, where he boasts a lifetime 90% rating from the American Conservative Union.

But we live in a day and age when virtually none of those things is valued in a presidential candidate. Most Americans want a fighter, a warrior, and, evidently for many, preferably someone who’s willing to get mean, nasty, and dirty. Scott just isn’t that guy.

As for that girlfriend, the never-married Scott did reveal last Wednesday after the GOP debate that he’d been dating Mindy Noce, an interior designer, for about a year. If that has anything to do with his dropping out of the race, it could be that he has other plans. He kept her identity secret for months because he didn’t want to be seen “dragging her onto the campaign trail unless I have the intention of marrying her.”

Either way, the last and only time the U.S. elected an unmarried president was James Buchanan in 1856, and after his single term, the nation split and fought the War Between the States.

Probably best we don’t elect any other unmarried presidents, right?

Kidding aside, the GOP race should begin to change even more in the coming weeks. After Scott joined Mike Pence, Larry Elder, Perry Johnson, Will Hurd, and Francis Suarez in dropping out, it’s likely that Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy will also eventually conclude there’s no path to the nomination. Perhaps that will dawn on even Asa Hutchinson and Doug Burgum, both of whom failed to qualify for the last debate and surely won’t meet the higher threshold for the next one.

If those dropouts happen, the race would become a three-way contest between Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and Donald Trump. The former president has maintained what certainly seems like an insurmountable lead, and he may indeed run away with the nomination. But his polling is lower in early primary states than it is nationally, and if voters who have yet to even begin paying attention break for DeSantis or Haley, anything can happen.

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