Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, considered by many to be the Republican front-runner as recently as three months ago, dropped out of the race Monday after post-debate polls showed the two-term executive of the Badger State continuing to hemorrhage support.
However, Gov. Walker left with a parting shot, urging other candidates to exit the race to offer a “positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner,” a clear reference to real estate mogul Donald Trump.
According to CNN, Gov. Walker made the announcement during a Monday evening press conference in Madison, Wisconsin. In a short speech, Walker expressed admiration for Ronald Reagan “because he was an optimist,” but saved most of it for a message about Trump delivered to the other 15 GOP candidates still remaining in the field.
“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately,” Walker said.
“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner,” Gov. Walker continued.
“This is fundamentally important to the future of our party, and, more important, the future of the country.”
Gov. Walker had been considered a frontrunner when he officially entered the race in July, and polls showed him leading in important states like Iowa and California.
However, the rise of outsider candidates like Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina — in addition to two largely ineffectual debate performances for Gov. Walker — saw the candidate slip rapidly back into the field.