"Today, I believe that I'm being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field," Walker announced at a press conference in Madison, Wisconsin on Monday. "With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately."
"I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front runner," Walker went on to say, referring to current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Walker's run started on July 13 and lasted 71 days.
The move comes just two months after polls showed Walker leadingTrump in the crucial, first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. Many pundits considered Walker to be a favorite for GOP nomination after his successful recall election in Wisconsin in 2012 and his establishment support.
But over the last several weeks, Walker has fallen dramatically in national polls, registering at less than 0.5 percent in the latest national CNN/ORC poll this weekend. In Iowa, where for much of the year Walker was considered the favorite to win the first in the nation caucuses, Walker slid from 19 percent to 5 percent in just six weeks of NBC News/Marist polling.
Walker first gained attention in Iowa for a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January. But after riding high in the polls in that state for over half the year, Walker was outpaced in the polls following a lackluster performance in the first televised Republican debate.
Walker, never having graduated college, pitched himself as an outsider to Washington and argued that the next president needed to be a governor.
Walker spoke with ABC's Jon Karl last November about the ideal presidential candidate on ABC's "This Week."
"I think it's got to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and vice presidential nominees should either be a former or current governor, people who’ve done successful things in their states, who’ve taken on big reforms and are ready to move America forward," he said at the time. "So, that rules out Marco Rubio, that rules out Ted Cruz and rules out Rand Paul. All good guys, but it’s got to be somebody who’s viewed as being exceptionally removed from Washington.”
Having won three elections in four years in Wisconsin, Walker touted his record fighting public unions in Wisconsin. First elected in 2010, Walker was pushed into the national spotlight in 2011 over a battle with the state’s public unions. After successfully stripping the state’s public unions, including teachers, of most collective bargaining rights, Walker faced a recall election in 2012. Walker went on to win the recall in 2012 by a larger margin than he won his first election and won reelection in 2014.
Walker's Super PAC raised more than $20 million during the second quarter of fundraising, the fourth highest Republican fundraiser to that point.
He was the 15th Republican candidate to join the 2016 race.
Walker's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other candidates in the field wished him well on Twitter on Monday afternoon.
I got to know @ScottWalker well—he’s a very nice person and has a great future.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2015
Scott Walker is a good man who has a proven record of fighting for conservative reforms. I know he’ll continue to do that as Governor.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 21, 2015
Make no mistake, a strong leader like @ScottWalker has a bright future & is a model for other governors. Good luck, Scott! -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) September 21, 2015
.@ScottWalker is a good friend. I campaigned for him multiple times and I wish him all the best.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) September 21, 2015
I wish @ScottWalker all the best in his future endeavors. I believe Governor Walker will remain a vital voice in the Republican Party.— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 21, 2015
@ScottWalker has been one of US' strongest governors. People of WI are blessed to have his leadership. Not the last we've heard of him!— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) September 21, 2015
Scott is a great governor with much to be proud of. He put his heart & soul into this campaign & I wish him & his family all the best.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 21, 2015
I wish @ScottWalker all the best. He's a great Governor, a fighter & a good friend. I know he will continue to work hard for our party & WI.— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) September 21, 2015
Re Gov. Walker's decision: As difficult a decision as it is to start a run for president, it's even more challenging to stop the race. (1/3)— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 21, 2015
I commend him for his courage to step into the difficult presidential arena. He entered the race w/ honor & left w/ honor & grace. (2/3)— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 21, 2015
Janet and I wish Tonette and him all the best as he continues to lead the people of Wisconsin. (3/3)— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 21, 2015
.@ScottWalker is a good man who entered the presidential race after winning three grueling campaigns in four years.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015
I know many people are disappointed with Scott's announcement and I respect what a difficult decision it must have been.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015
He remains one of the best governors in the country and I have no doubt that he'll continue the fight for conservative principles.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015
Republicans are lucky to have Scott on our team, and I wish the best to him and his family.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 21, 2015