|Illustration by DonkeyHotey.|
By Ashley Killough
Jeb Bush is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination, he announced Saturday night.
Bush struggled for months to make inroads against Donald Trump, who constantly mocked the former Florida governor's "low energy" and for spending tens of millions of dollars on his campaign.
But it was Bush's disappointing finish in South Carolina, where his brother, former President George W. Bush, and mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, campaigned for him, that was the final straw.
"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign," Bush said, before being overtaken by emotion.
From front-runner to facing an angry electorate
Bush, who turned 63 earlier this month, kicked off his candidacy last June as the front-runner in a crowded field of candidates.
His brand was built to be the candidate who fulfilled what Republicans thought they needed after Mitt Romney's 2012 election loss: an experienced governor from a swing state who could help expand the GOP base by appealing to Latinos and craft a narrative of a more compassionate GOP. Bush pledged to be the "joyful" candidate.
But then a perceived sideshow candidate named Trump -- who labeled undocumented immigrants as "rapists" in his announcement speech -- quickly started to gain traction and within weeks of Bush's announcement became not only the front-runner, but took the lead and ran away with it.
The surge revealed a Republican electorate that was more angry than joyful, surprising the Washington political class and upending the Republican primary narrative.