Former congressman Will Hurd said on Monday he was ending his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and urged the other GOP hopefuls to unite behind former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley to defeat former president Donald Trump, the party’s clear front-runner.
In a statement posted Monday evening on social media, Hurd said “the time has come to suspend” his campaign.
“I urge donors, voters, and other candidates to unite around an alternative candidate to Trump. Otherwise, we will repeat the same errors as in 2016,” said Hurd, a Trump critic. “If the Republican party nominates Donald Trump or the various personalities jockeying to imitate his divisive, crass behavior, we will lose.”
Hurd, who retired from the House in 2020 after three terms representing Texas, went on to say people should rally behind a candidate who “can unite us and navigate the complex challenges we face, particularly when it comes to our national security. I believe Ambassador Nikki Haley is the best person in this race to do that.”
When I first entered the Republican presidential primary field in June, I knew I was a dark horse candidate with a path to victory that would contain many obstacles. But as I traveled across the country, I met so many Americans who believed in my campaign’s message of unity and…
— Will Hurd (@WillHurd) October 9, 2023
In a Wall Street Journal essay published Monday, Hurd argued the Republican Party is running out of time to defeat Trump.
“The time is now. If we wait much longer, we will anoint Mr. Trump as the leader of our party,” the former CIA officer wrote. “While I have many friends running who represent the right direction for the party and America, Ms. Haley has the clearest path to victory, the character and credentials to lead, the willingness to take on Mr. Trump, and the conservative record needed to beat Joe Biden.”
As a lawmaker, Hurd sometimes clashed with his Republican colleagues. He broke with the GOP and voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act, and in favor of universal background checks for gun purchases. He also condemned Trump’s comments that four minority congresswomen should “go back” to the places they came from.
Hurd, who called Trump a “lawless, selfish, failed politician” at various times, voted twice against impeaching the former president.
As a presidential candidate in a crowded field, Hurd struggled to find a base of support. He failed to qualify for the first two Republican presidential debates, under party rules that set minimum thresholds for fundraising and support in public polling.