Governor Scott Walker Monday became the second Republican candidate to drop out of the 2016 White House race, calling for more rivals to follow suit but sidestepping the financial issues that reportedly prompted him to quit.
Without naming him, Walker took aim at Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman rival who has soared to the top of the polls with bombastic, negative and incendiary rhetoric against migrants, women, war heroes, his fellow candidates and others.
“In the end I believe the voters want to be for something and not against someone,” Walker said in broadcast remarks.
He encouraged others of the 15 remaining Republican hopefuls to do the same so voters can focus on a narrower field and find a “positive conservative alternative” to the current front runner.
“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,” Walker said.
His aides told US media that money was his biggest challenge, and donations had not been pouring in – but Walker did not refer to funding problems. In the poll averages maintained by Real Clear POlitics, Walker had dropped to 1.8 per cent support among Republican voters.
Walker, the governor of the north-central state of Wisconsin, follows former Texas governor Texas governor Rick Perry into the exit lane.
Also on Monday, another Republican hopeful – the physician Ben Carson – was the target of calls for resignation from the race, over his objections to a Muslim ever being elected US president.
Trump last week provoked outrage when he left stand a statement by someone at a question and answer session at a campaign rally that US President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Walker had seen his support plummet in recent opinion polls after at first being considered among the favourites in the race.
Walker had staked his claim to national headlines in 2011, when as the newly elected governor he moved to restrict public employees’ collective bargaining rights and force them to pay more into their pensions and health plans.
Wisconsin is a strongly Democrat-leaning state, where voters in 2012 supported Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election by a margin of nearly 7 percentage points.