UPDATE: 10:39 p.m. EST -- Former President George W. Bush issued the following statement after his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, announced he was suspending his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination:
"Tonight I talked to my brother and congratulated him on his campaign for the Presidency. I told Jeb how proud I am of him and his staff for running a campaign that looked to the future, presented serious policy proposals, and elevated the tone of the race. Jeb's decision to suspend his campaign reflects his selfless character and patriotism. I was moved by Jeb's concession speech. Laura and I are proud of Jeb and Columba for the character and class they brought to this important campaign."
George W. Bush statement on his brother suspending his White House bid: pic.twitter.com/MJHnG0Gw9M
— Jordan J Frasier (@jordanjfrasier) February 21, 2016
UPDATED: 9:35 p.m. EST — When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican presidential race Saturday night after the South Carolina primary, his peers took to Twitter to memorialize his campaign. Everyone from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to rival candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich posted messages recognizing Bush's bid for the White House.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 21, 2016
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 21, 2016
Jeb Bush is a great person who was a remarkable reform governor of florida.he should be remembered for great achievements as a leader.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) February 21, 2016
I love you Dad and proud that you offered a servant's heart to the people of this great Country #allinforjeb
— George P. Bush (@georgepbush) February 21, 2016
.@JebBush fought hard every day. He was a great governor and is a great man. -John
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) February 21, 2016
If the GOP wins in November, we should hope his extraordinary talents are called upon for service to our country in such a hard time.
— Karl Rove (@KarlRove) February 21, 2016
Bush himself was en route to his home in Miami, NBC News reported.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 21, 2016
UPDATED: 9:05 p.m. EST — Shortly before former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced the suspension of his presidential campaign, Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign issued a statement saying in part that "tonight it became a four-person race." The statement was at once an indication that Bush's low finish Saturday in the South Carolina primary should effectively end Bush's campaign, as well as an adamant statement that Kasich would continue his.
Kasich camp statement: "Tonight it Became a Four-Person Race" pic.twitter.com/xgEo3FsAY9
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 21, 2016
Donald Trump, who won the primary, did not mention Bush's name during his victory speech, perhaps indicating that he still holds some animosity toward the former Florida governor with whom he has been engaging in a war of words. While the primary's winner (and some clear losers) has been officially decided, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were still battling for a second place finish.
— CBSN (@CBSNLive) February 21, 2016
And then there were five.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suspended his campaign for president after finishing no better than fourth in the South Carolina primary Saturday night. Bush had about 8 percent of the vote as of 8:40 p.m. EST. Mogul Donald Trump came in first, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their opinion, so tonight I am suspending our campaign,” he said tearfully. “I congratulate my competitors that are remaining on the island."
The Palmetto State was the latest in a series of blows to the White House hopeful. Bush came in sixth place in Iowa — behind Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has since dropped out — and fourth in New Hampshire. He was polling at about 6.3 percent nationally, according to the HuffPost Pollster.
Pundits had been speculating for months about when Bush's decision to drop out would come. "Jeb really needs to finish in the top three somewhere, and he’s running out of places to do it," conservative site the National Review wrote recently, later noting that "is simply not sustainable for the Bush campaign to keep up its resource-intensive ways into March unless it does something to revive its fundraising soon."
A recent Federal Election Commission filing showed Bush's super PAC had $24.4 million cash on hand as of Jan. 31. He and his super PAC spent more than $11.6 million on TV ads in South Carolina alone. His fourth-place finish would likely have shaken supporters' faith.
“Anybody who finishes below third will raise serious questions about how they go forward,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told the New York Times. “And that message will be most pronounced by those candidates’ donors.”
ABC News reported he was staying positive as of Saturday morning. Bush said he intended to continue campaigning the next day in Nevada, and when a reporter asked if that plan was in flux, he replied that "I don't think so."