Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal has dropped out of the race for the White House, ending a campaign plagued by low polling numbers both nationally and in Iowa, where he had focused most of his 2016 bid.
"I am suspending my campaign for president of the United States," the Louisiana Governor told Fox News' Bret Baier. “The reality though is, they told me as a young child, Americans can do anything. I believed them then, I believe them now. But you know, this is not my time. I've come to the realization this is not my time.”
His decision leaves 14 candidates remaining in the race for the Republican nomination, currently led by real estate mogul Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Jindal had participated in the undercard round of the four GOP debates so far, unable to reach high enough poll numbers to make the mainstage. He had no support in the most recent national ABC News/Washington Post poll. In Iowa, he peaked at 6 percent support in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in October.
"Even though I'm not going to be a candidate for president, we had better elect the right candidate so we can restore the American dream before it's too late," he said.
Jindal had been one of the more vocal critics of GOP candidates during the cycle, calling frontrunner Donald Trump a “egomaniacal madman” and “entertaining narcissist."
In the most recent GOP debate, he jabbed at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I’ll give you a ribbon for participation and a juice box. It's about actually cutting government spending, not talking about cutting government spending,” Jindal said.
On whether he is going to endorse one of his former 2016 rivals, Jindal demurred, also opting not to swipe at Trump on his way out of the race.
"I haven't given that a lot of thought," he said. “It's not enough just to elect a Republican. But we need to make big changes. If we elect somebody who is going to do more big government spending, if we elect somebody who is not going to be serious about the threat of radical Islam, we're not going to get the country back on the right path. I want somebody who has the courage and smarts to make big changes.”
On a conference call tonight, Jindal aides left the door open to another run in the future. “I think he’ll leave every option on the table," campaign manager Timmy Teepell told reporters, saying Jindal had a "bright future" and was "exceptionally talented."
The outgoing Louisiana governor was also plagued by low favorability in his home state, which will be electing its next governor on Saturday. Democrat John Bel Edwards is ahead in most polls. Jindal has said he will not endorse Republican David Vitter in the race.
Republican presidential candidates expressed their support on Twitter as Jindal exited the race.
Thank you to @BobbyJindal for being a conservative governor and running a campaign he should be proud of. Wishing the Jindal family well.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) November 17, 2015
Governor Jindal is a true conservative and a principled leader, whose story epitomizes the American Dream.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 18, 2015
.@BobbyJindal is a good, conservative, policy-focused governor. Am confident he will continue to play an important role in the party— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 18, 2015
.@BobbyJindal brought passion & energy for conservatism to the race. Not the last we've heard from him! Wishing the Jindals the best— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) November 18, 2015
Bobby Jindal has always been a strong voice for the conservative cause, served the people of LA well, & I wish him & his family all the best— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 17, 2015
Governor @BobbyJindal is one of the smartest and deepest thinking people in our entire Republican Party.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 17, 2015
The next President should hope that Governor @BobbyJindal would be willing to bring his intellect and his experience to the cabinet.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) November 17, 2015