A long shot Republican presidential candidate dropped out of the race Monday, calling on other candidates to consolidate behind one person to defeat former President Donald Trump — while endorsing one of the other candidates.
Will Hurd, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, terminated his candidacy Monday afternoon. After launching his campaign in June, Hurd struggled to garner broad support in a crowded GOP field, falling short of the requirements for the first two debates.
“While I appreciate all the time and energy our supporters have given, it is important to recognize the realities of the political landscape and the need to consolidate our party around one person to defeat both Donald Trump and President Biden,” Hurd said in a statement.
In the statement, Hurd endorsed former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, calling her “a leader who can unite us” and “navigate the complex challenges we face.”
“Ambassador Haley has shown a willingness to articulate a different vision for the country than Donald Trump and has an unmatched grasp on the complexities of our foreign policy,” Hurd said.
Hurd’s call for the Republican candidates to consolidate behind one person to challenge Trump echoes similar calls from Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who won the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2012.
Per Romney’s strategy, unveiled in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in July, all Republican candidates and donors should coalesce behind a single, non-Trump candidate by the end of February to avoid “split(ting) the non-Trump vote” and awarding the former president a victory. Romney reportedly tried, unsuccessfully, to get GOP candidates to do the same in 2016, when Trump won the nomination.
Hurd called on “donors, voters and other candidates” to back a single candidate. “Otherwise, we will repeat the same errors as in 2016,” he said.
“If the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump or the various personalities jockeying to imitate his divisive, crass behavior, we will lose.”