After months of sagging poll numbers and shaky fundraising, Rand Paul has had enough.
The Kentucky senator announced this morning that he is dropping out of the 2016 race for president.
Paul said in a statement that he will turn his full attention to his Senate re-election campaign in Kentucky. The 52-year-old ophthalmologist is favored to win that race.
The first-term senator from Kentucky exits the race having never caught on with Republican voters, who have made billionaire businessman Donald Trump the front-runner in the race for the party’s nomination.
Paul was determined to improve the GOP’s popularity among younger voters and minorities. But his message failed to catch on and his appeal never broadened beyond the small group of libertarian-leaning Republicans that backed the previous White House bids of his father, Ron Paul.
With Paul out of the race, there will now be a mad scramble among his GOP rivals for his supporters. A Paul endorsement of Trump, who repeatedly insulted the senator during the presidential campaign, seems highly unlikely. But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are likely to make a strong push to appeal to Paul backers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.