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Tim Scott Bows Out of Presidential Race After Soft-Launching His Girlfriend

Tim Scott Drops Out Presidential Race
Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Last week, Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, went public with his girlfriend after rumors swirled about his sexuality. This week, he quit the race to become the Republican Party's presidential nominee.


South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott announced Sunday that he would suspend his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The development seemed to shock funders and even campaign staff, according to the Associated Press.

Scott, who was not a front-runner by any means, made the announcement on Sunday Night in America on Fox News. The show is hosted by Trey Gowdy, a good friend of Scott’s.

One staffer told the AP they found out about Scott quitting the race by watching the interview.

“I love America more today than I did on May 22,” Scott said Sunday. “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.’”

Last month, the super PAC supporting Scott’s campaign pulled its television ads for the senator, according to CNN. Following the debate last week, the super PAC decided not to invest again.

The outlet reports that Scott and his campaign had concerns they wouldn’t qualify for next month’s fourth Republican debate, having been the last of the 5 candidates to meet the criteria for the last debate.

The news also comes shortly after Scott made public his relationship with Mindy Noce, a Charleston interior designer. Months leading up to the soft launch of their relationship at the debate, which Noce attended, there were rumors swirling about Scott’s bachelor status and his sexuality.

There was so much gossip about his sexuality that the 58-year-old had to address the rumors.

He said in an interview in September, “But more importantly is, why are the headlines there? The headlines are there because, as I rise in the polls, as people show up at my town halls, it scares even my opponents. Everybody wants to find a way to win this race. I’m going to focus on having an optimistic, positive message and staying focused on the American people, who say they like me a lot.”

Commenters pointed out that the questions about his sexuality were meant to discredit him as a candidate.

“Tim ran an optimistic, hopeful message — but that’s not where the Republican base is right now,” a Republican official who had supported Scott told CNN.

He told Gowdy on Sunday night that he’d wait to endorse another candidate during the primary. Scott also again rejected the possibility of him accepting the vice presidential nomination.

“I ran for president to be president,” Scott said. “I think I was called to run. I was not called to win, but I certainly was called to run. … Being vice president has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now.”

There’s speculation that Scott might run for South Carolina governor in 2026 when the current governor, Gov. Henry McMaster, a Trump supporter, leaves office due to term limits. Scott said that his 2022 reelection campaign would be his last for the Senate.

Former President Donald Trump is still the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Scott is the second major candidate to drop out after former Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement to suspend his campaign two weeks ago.

Scott has a poor LGBTQ+ rights record. In the last debate, while there were no questions about trans health care or LGBTQ+ rights, Scott made a point of being transphobic.

In his closing remarks at last week’s debate, Scott attacked the trans community while he was promoting what he considers core American values.

“We need, a renewal, a great awakening,” he said. “We should reject the left’s valueless, faithless, fatherless society. … We should stop kneeling in protest and start kneeling in prayer. There are basic truths that built this country. If you’re able-bodied in America, you work. If you take out a loan, you pay it back. If you commit a violent crime, you go to jail. And if God made you a man, you play sports against men.” He received applause from the crowd in Miami.

Scott has opposed marriage equality for years — and still does, even though it's been the law of the land since 2015. In 2010, when he was first elected to the House, he said homosexuality is a “morally wrong choice, like adultery.” He's proposed a national version of Florida's "don't say gay or trans" law as well as legislation that would defund schools with trans-supportive policies. And he asserts that schools are indoctrinating students on race — by teaching the facts about racism — as well as LGBTQ+ issues. He has a string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard, and he voted against Pete Buttigieg's confirmation as secretary of transportation.

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