by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Republican presidential primary is looking remarkably stable, a poor sign for every candidate but one, and pressure is building on lower-tier candidates to either make waves or leave the pool.
A memo from Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) Super PAC raised eyebrows by revealing that it’s backing out of a $40 million ad buy, with blunt language that calls into question the long-term veracity of his campaign.
“We are doing what would be obvious in the business world but will mystify politicos. We aren’t going to waste our money when the electorate isn’t focused or ready for a Trump alternative,” TIMPAC Co-Chairman Rob Collins said. He added that the money will be rerouted to “fully fund” grassroots and door-knocking efforts, though it’s not exactly clear how that will work.
“We already have a robust grassroots operation underway,” a TIMPAC spokesman said. “Began in June. Just additional support.”
Scott is polling at 2% in the RealClearPolitics average, a number that brings with it more immediate challenges than whether or not he can win. The third GOP debate, to be held Nov. 8 in Miami, will require at least 4% polling in various state and national polls along with a minimum of 70,000 contributors in order to qualify.
Scott’s campaign indicates things are still full speed ahead, telling the Washington Examiner earlier this week that “Tim’s campaign was built for the long haul, powered by the most primary cash on hand and the highest candidate favorability of anyone in the field.” He filed for the 2024 South Carolina presidential primary ballot, the nation’s third after Iowa and New Hampshire, on Monday.
But it may be hard to see a path to victory for a candidate who struggles to make the debate stage.