Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's bid for the Republican presidential nomination came to a close Monday evening at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, when he announced he was suspending his 2016 campaign. The decision followed a lackluster performance at last week's Republican debate in California and weeks of poll numbers plummeting into the single digits.
"I am going to suspend my campaign immediately," Walker said "I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider to do the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates."
Walker criticized the rhetoric of the current 2016 election season, saying the race has centered around "how bad things are" instead of "how we can make things better."
He subtlely took aim at businessman Donald Trump, saying the party needs alternatives to the current front-runner. Before Walker's announcement, Trump had tweeted well wishes for him.
I got to know @ScottWalker well—he’s a very nice person and has a great future.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2015
Walker leaves the race with less than 0.5 percent of support from Republican primary voters, according to a CNN survey. He entered the race in July as a top-tier candidate, but poll numbers sank after the Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland that was televised by Fox News Channel.
Some pundits blamed his downfall on his positions. Walker supports restictions on legal immigration and a constiutional amendment that would enable each state to define marriage.
Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics penned a piece following reports Monday titled "The Fall of Scott Walker: How the Man Who Could Have Been Both Outsider and Insider Became Neither."
"Complicating matters is that he didn’t have a firm grasp of many issues, and it showed. The voters may not be paying attention to every little thing, but the donors, the media, and the party most assuredly are, and Walker often didn’t perform well when he had to compose a position on the fly. Presidential politics is in a different and much more high-powered league than state-level politics, and even the scrutiny of three statewide elections in four years was not preparation enough for the big stage."
Walker evaded questions about his unimpressive polls Friday and invoked former President Ronald Reagan when questioned during an appearance on Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom."
"For us, the biggest thing to get is that grassroots," he said. "You know Ronald Reagan was behind in the polls in 1980 ... He went forward and obviously won that election and brought about one of the best presidencies we've had, I think, in modern American history."
He cited Reagan again when he announced his exit from the 2016 race, noting he respected him "because he was an eternal optimist for the American people."
Several Republican presidential candidates took to social media Monday to praise Walker after his announcement. "Scott Walker is a good man who has a proven record of fighting for conservative reforms. I know he’ll continue to do that as Governor," wrote former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Twitter.
Scott Walker is a good man who has a proven record of fighting for conservative reforms. I know he’ll continue to do that as Governor.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 21, 2015
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich all offered Walker support. Jindal tweeted that Walker "is a good friend. I campaigned for him multiple times and I wish him all the best." Christie called Walker "a fighter & a good friend" and Kasich posted a message on Twitter that called him a "model for other governors."
.@ScottWalker is a good friend. I campaigned for him multiple times and I wish him all the best.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) September 21, 2015
Make no mistake, a strong leader like @ScottWalker has a bright future & is a model for other governors. Good luck, Scott! -John
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) September 21, 2015
I wish @ScottWalker all the best. He's a great Governor, a fighter & a good friend. I know he will continue to work hard for our party & WI.
— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) September 21, 2015
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told his followers on Twitter that the party is "lucky to have Scott on our team." In another tweet, he lamented, "I know many people are disappointed with Scott's announcement and I respect what a difficult decision it must have been."
I know many people are disappointed with Scott's announcement and I respect what a difficult decision it must have been.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015
The New York Times was the first to report news of Walker's plans to drop out Monday afternoon, citing several sources close to the campaign.