, COLUMBIA, United States, Feb 21 – In the end, a famous name, political pedigree and deep-pocketed donors were not enough to rescue the lackluster presidential campaign of Jeb Bush.
Bush withdrew from the presidential race Saturday after another humiliating primary defeat, this time in South Carolina.
“Tonight, I am suspending my campaign,” an emotional Bush, who at times appeared on the verge of tears, said after the disappointing result.
“I’m proud of the campaign that we have run to unify our country.”
The former Florida governor – son of one president and brother of another – started his campaign as the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, backed by a prodigious political brain trust and millions of dollars in donations from private and corporate supporters.
Although the 62-year-old Bush led some opinion some polls very early in the campaign, his support had dwindled by Saturday to single digits nationally, and his White House aspirations were on life support.
The coup de grace came after he earned less than eight percent of the vote in the primary in South Carolina, a state where his family had always made strong primary showings.
Donald Trump was the big winner in South Carolina – a particularly bitter pill to swallow for Bush, who throughout the campaign was bullied and demeaned by the billionaire businessman.
Bush’s campaign logo sported a jaunty exclamation mark after his first name – Jeb! – a jarring juxtaposition to the candidate himself, who came across as plodding and unexciting.
Bush and his Right to Rise super PAC – vastly outraised his competitors, garnering some $118 million but the money – largely spent on television ads – failed to help generate excitement about his campaign.