Senator Graham drops out of Republican race

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham steps down from presidential race after failing to gain traction.

Ben Ariel ,

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Lindsey Graham

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday announced he is dropping his bid to become the Republican presidential candidate, AFP reported.

"I am suspending my campaign, but never my commitment to achieving security through strength for the American people," Graham said in a video statement.

"The centerpiece of my campaign has been securing our nation. I got into this race to put forward a plan to win a war we cannot afford to lose and to turn back the tide of isolationism that was rising in our party," added Graham.

The 60-year-old senator from South Carolina never gained traction, often polling at just one percent nationally.

In a crowded race that at one point had 17 candidates, Graham was swamped by political outsiders including Donald Trump and Ben Carson, as well as fellow Republican senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, noted AFP.

"I've hit a wall," he acknowledged in an interview with CNN, and said it was time to consider "getting out and helping somebody else" in the presidential race.

Graham’s campaign might perhaps best be remembered for his back and forth with Trump, to whom he referred as a "wrecking ball" who has put the Republican Party's future on the line. Those comments came in response to Trump’s controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.

After Trump responded to Graham’s criticism and called him a “jackass” before publicly giving out his personal phone number, Graham released a memorable video in which he was shown destroying his own cell phone in response to Trump’s action.

Graham continued his criticism of Trump at last week’s Republican debate, this time blasting the billionaire over his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

"Donald Trump has done the one single thing you cannot do: declare war on Islam itself," Graham said, according to AFP.