Update, March 15: This story has been updated to include Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio's announcement that he's suspending his campaign.
This story was originally published on February 10, 2016.
This story was originally published on February 10, 2016.
A few months ago, the field of GOP presidential candidates seemed absurdly crowded. And while there are still many candidates vying for the Republican primary nomination, the group is slowly, but surely, thinning out. And on the Democratic side, the primary race is down to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. See who has left, or is rumoured to be leaving, the race in more detail, below.
Marco Rubio, Campaign Suspended March 15, 2016After losing his home state of Florida to part-time resident Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio announced that he was suspending his campaign. Rubio spoke to supporters, saying "it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side." The 44-year-old Cuban-American politician also took a stealth shot at the Republican frontrunner, saying "The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they're going to leave us a fractured nation. They're going to leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other because they have different political opinions."
Moment of infamy: Going negative on Donald Trump seemed to hurt Rubio, along with a robotic moment in which he repeated a canned attack on President Obama during a debate confrontation with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Ben Carson, Campaign Suspended March 4, 2016Republican presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced on March 2 that his campaign had no "political path forward" in the 2016 race. At the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 4, Carson said he was leaving the campaign trail, saying "there's a lot of people who love me, they just won't vote for me." The one-time frontrunner did not win a single state during the March 1 primaries and caucuses.
Moment of infamy:Carson was renowned (and sometimes mocked) for his mild manner on the campaign trail. In various Republican primary debates, Carson joked about needing to be woken up and asked his fellow candidates to attack him instead when they went after each other. And, of course, there was this awkward debate introduction, when Carson didn't come onto the stage.
Jeb Bush, Campaign Suspended February 20, 2016Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has ended his presidential campaign, The New York Times reports. Bush came in at fourth place in the South Carolina Republican primary, earning 7.8% of the vote. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio claimed the top three spots among the GOP hopefuls. Bush announced his campaign's suspension during a speech in South Carolina, saying that "the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision."
Moment of infamy: Bush became the subject of many memes when he admitted during a Republican primary debate that he'd smoked marijuana in his younger days. As Bush's campaign lost steam, the former governor also apparently asked an audience to "please clap" during one of his speeches, according to The New York Times.
Jim Gilmore, Campaign Suspended February 12, 2016Republican presidential hopeful Jim Gilmore has suspended his presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post. Gilmore, a long-shot candidate who was frequently shut out of the GOP debates — even the early debates — by low polling numbers, was an underdog candidate for pretty much the entirety of his campaign. In the recent Iowa caucuses, the former governor of Virginia got the support of a scant 12 caucus-goers, according to USA Today.
Moment of infamy: Gilmore’s profile was so low that even Donald Trump had nothing to offer on his candidacy. "Him, I don't know," Trump was quoted by The New York Times back in August.
Carly Fiorina, Campaign Suspended February 10, 2016Carly Fiorina announced that she would end her bid for the Republican presidential nomination after placing seventh in the New Hampshire Republican primary. "While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them," Fiorina said in a statement.
Moment of infamy: While her poll numbers didn't skyrocket, Fiorina made headlines when she stood up to Donald Trump in early GOP debates. And after Trump told Rolling Stone, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" in reference to Fiorina, she turned the quote into a positive and inspiring message in a September speech.
Chris Christie, Campaign Suspended February 10, 2016During the New Hampshire Republican primary, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earned just 7% of the vote and finished in a dismal sixth place. One day later, sources told CNN that Christie would be suspending his presidential bid. Christie confirmed in a Facebook post that he was exiting the 2016 race. "I ran for president with the message that the government needs to once again work for the people, not the people work for the government," Christie wrote. "That message was heard by and stood for by a lot of people, but just not enough, and that's ok."
Moment of infamy: Christie wasn't the most-discussed candidate during the 2016 presidential race, but he earned applause at a GOP primary debate in February, when he called out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for using prepared talking points multiple times during the debate.
Rick Santorum, Campaign Suspended February 3, 2016On Wednesday, February 3, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced that he was ending his 2016 presidential campaign. Not long after, Santorum also announced his endorsement of Republican Senator Rubio's 2016 presidential bid. It's been a hard campaign season for Santorum, who won the Iowa Republican caucus in 2012. At the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus, Santorum garnered just 1% of the vote.
Moment of infamy: Santorum never made it onto the main debate stage in the GOP primary face-offs this time around, unlike 2012, when he won the Iowa caucuses. In a May interview with Fox News' Greta Von Susteren, Santorum said he was "very comfortable" being the 2016 underdog — a statement that proved ominous and prescient.
Rand Paul, Campaign Suspended February 3, 2016Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced on February 3 that he was suspending his 2016 bid for the presidency. The libertarian-leaning senator had struggled to gain support. He garnered 4.5% of votes in the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus. Paul still plans to run for re-election to a second term in the Senate this November, according to USA Today. Moment of infamy: During an early GOP primary debate, Paul sparred with his fellow Republican contenders over the issue of legal marijuana. Paul slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in particular, arguing that Bush's privilege allowed him to escape legal ramifications for smoking pot, while many Americans aren't afforded the same treatment. He also shouted "Get a Warrant!" at Chris Christie during a heated exchange over government surveillance.
Mike Huckabee, Campaign Suspended February 1, 2016Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucus in 2008, but in 2016, Huckabee managed just 1.8% of votes. After news broke that Huckabee was suspending his campaign, a Huckabee spokesperson told CNN that the former governor "is going to continue to push for the issues he believes."
Moment of infamy: Huckabee's 2016 campaign was littered with low points, including the candidate sending racist tweets during a Democratic primary debate. But Huckabee's most memorable low point is probably his nonsensical campaign ad parodying Adele's "Hello."
Martin O'Malley, Campaign Suspended February 1, 2016The Democratic primary race narrowed down to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on February 1, when former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced that he was dropping out. O'Malley gained just 0.6% of votes in the Iowa Democratic caucus. In his resignation speech, O'Malley criticised the "racist and fascist rhetoric of Donald Trump." Moment of infamy: O'Malley frequently emphasised the fact that Republicans should be more sensitive when discussing "boots on the ground" and military involvement overseas. O'Malley mentioned the phrase at two separate debates, emphasising that human beings are more than a pair of boots, and that politicians should discuss the lives at stake accordingly.
Lindsey Graham, Campaign Suspended December 21, 2015South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham dropped out of the presidential race in December. Despite being praised for his performance at the "undercard" GOP debates, Graham didn't earn significant support from Republican voters. Moment of infamy: Graham may have been the most outspoken candidate about the Republican contenders being divided into main and secondary debates. "One of the biggest problems we've had was to get our voice on equal footing with others," Graham said during his campaign announcement, according to Politico. "This second-tier debate process has been difficult for us. I think we've done well in the debates, it's just hard to break through, because the buzz doesn't last very long."
Bobby Jindal, Campaign Suspended November 17, 2015Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suspended his presidential campaign in November, after struggling to raise funds, The Washington Post reports. The Post noted that Jindal "was unable to gain traction" amid all of the Republican presidential candidates.
Moment of infamy: Despite holding just 1% of supporters in a September CNN poll, Jindal wasn't afraid to criticise GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. In a speech at the National Press Club, Jindal said that "the reality of Donald Trump is absurd," suggesting Trump didn't understand U.S. policy, CNN reports. "Just because people like watching Kim Kardashian, we wouldn't put her in the White House, either," Jindal said at the National Press Club.
Scott Walker, Campaign Suspended September 21, 2015Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his 2016 presidential bid in September after running out of campaign funding. "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," Walker said in his September announcement.
Moment of infamy: Walker's presidential campaign was notoriously short, and his biggest moment in the election season was leaving the race so early. During his announcement, Walker encouraged other Republican candidates to drop out of the race, as well, "so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner," Walker said. No one followed his lead.