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Will Hurd drops out of 2024 Republican presidential race and backs Nikki Haley

By Simone Pathe and Kate Sullivan, CNN

(CNN) — Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd announced Monday that he is ending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and is endorsing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

“Unfortunately, it has become clear to me and my team that the time has come to suspend our campaign,” he wrote in a statement, adding that “it is important to recognize the realities of the political landscape and the need to consolidate our party around one person to defeat both Donald Trump and President (Joe) Biden.”

The former congressman and CIA officer, who had struggled to gain traction in a crowded GOP field dominated by Trump, offered a stark warning to his party: “If the Republican party nominates Donald Trump or the various personalities jockeying to imitate his divisive, crass behavior, we will lose.”

Hurd entered the race in June as an outspoken critic of the former president and was one of the few Republican contenders willing to attack Trump directly. He accused his fellow GOP candidates of being afraid of Trump and argued that the former president, who currently faces 91 criminal charges across four separate criminal cases against him, was running for a second term in order to “stay out of jail.”

But Hurd had difficulty getting out that message, which didn’t reflect where the GOP base has stood on the former president, who leads his closest rivals by about 40 percentage points in nationwide polling on the race, according to the latest update to the CNN Poll of Polls.

Hurd, who barely registered in many surveys, didn’t make the stage for either of the Republican National Committee’s two debates held thus far. He repeatedly slammed the qualifications, which have included signing a pledge to back the party’s ultimate nominee and polling and donor thresholds.

In backing Haley, a former ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, Hurd praised her as a leader who can navigate national security challenges. “Ambassador Haley has shown a willingness to articulate a different vision for the country than Donald Trump and has an unmatched grasp on the complexities of our foreign policy,” he said.

Haley thanked Hurd for his endorsement in a statement on X on Monday, writing: “America is at a crossroads and it’s time to come together and make Joe Biden a one-term president. Thank you @WillHurd for your support and confidence. We have a country to save!”

The former South Carolina governor’s debate performances have earned her increased attention. Her campaign on Monday announced that her political operation had made fundraising gains over the previous quarter, pointing to momentum in her attempt to emerge as a leading Trump rival.

At his campaign launch in June, Hurd vowed to bring “commonsense” leadership to tackle “generational-defining challenges,” including inflation, China’s global influence, artificial intelligence and children’s low scores in math, science and reading. He nodded to those challenges in his announcement on Monday, saying that “not enough people are talking about real, achievable solutions.”

Hurd served three terms in Congress, from 2015 to 2021, representing a swing district in Texas that covered the largest stretch of the US-Mexico border of any congressional seat. He was the only Black Republican in the US House when he announced he would not seek reelection in 2020.

Hurd was one of four House Republicans in 2019 to vote in support of a resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets targeting four Democratic congresswomen of color. He also authored a New York Times op-ed in 2018 arguing that Trump was being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite his outspoken criticism, Hurd said in 2019 he would vote for Trump the following year were he to be the GOP nominee. He also voted against impeaching Trump in 2019.

Before entering politics, Hurd served in the CIA for almost a decade, including working as an undercover officer in Afghanistan and at a cybersecurity firm.

This story has been updated with additional information.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Ebony Davis contributed to this report.

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