Brownback to withdraw from GOP race
Brownback to withdraw from GOP race By LIBBY QUAID
45 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, the Kansas
conservative who struggled to raise money and gain
recognition in the 2008 presidential campaign, will
drop out on Friday, people close to him said Thursday.
Money was a main reason for his decision, said one
person close to Brownback who requested anonymity
because the candidate had not yet announced his plans.
Brownback is expected announce his withdrawal in
It's widely anticipated Brownback will run for Kansas
governor in 2010, when his term his second
expires. He had promised in his first Senate campaign
to serve no more than two terms.
"He also mentioned he is really looking forward to
spending more time in Kansas," the person said.
As recently as last week, Brownback indicated he would
keep campaigning through Iowa's first-in-the-nation
presidential caucuses in January, saying he would exit
the race if he finished worse than fourth there.
But his fundraising has sagged. Reports released
Monday showed that of the eight Republican candidates,
Brownback was seventh in fundraising from July through
September and had a mere $94,000 cash on hand, less
than any of his rivals. Brownback raised nearly $4
million overall and was eligible for $2 million in
federal matching funds.
He spent a good chunk of his money on the Iowa straw
poll, an early test of strength whose significance
diminished after Arizona Sen. John McCain and former
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided not to compete.
He finished third in the August contest behind former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas
Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The straw poll gave a boost to Huckabee, said Chuck
Hurley, an influential Iowa conservative who is friend
and adviser to Brownback.
"Brownback's campaign didn't catch fire," Hurley said.
"It's just the field is still so full, and the pool of
voters he was most fishing from was almost perfectly
split between him and Mike Huckabee."
Hurley said Brownback called him Thursday morning to
say he was dropping out.
Besides money, Brownback was hurt because he supports
a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, an issue
that angers conservatives who influence voting in Iowa
and other states that are struggling to provide
education, medical care and other services to an
influx of immigrants in recent years.
People close to Brownback said it was unlikely he
would endorse another candidate on Friday.
It's uncertain how much weight a Brownback endorsement
would carry. While the anti-abortion senator is a
favorite of religious conservatives, he failed to
become their consensus candidate and ranks low in
national polls and state surveys.
Still, a nod from Brownback could bolster the
conservative credentials of a candidate such as McCain
or Huckabee, the rivals who appear most likely to
receive his support.
Brownback and McCain are close Senate comrades and
have refrained from criticizing one another, instead
While McCain has a voting record similar to
Brownback's on cultural issues, McCain prompts
skepticism on the right flank of the party because he
isn't a high-profile crusader against abortion rights
and gay marriage. Brownback's backing could signal to
Christian conservatives that they can trust McCain.
Campaigning in Spartanburg, S.C., on Thursday, McCain
said of Brownback, "I'll miss him in this debate. He's
a voice for family. He's a voice for the pro-life
movement and community in America."
Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, is another
favorite of religious conservatives. But like
Brownback, he has struggled to rally that voting bloc
around his candidacy. He, too, could benefit from
Huckabee, campaigning in Rindge, N.H., declined to
comment on Brownback's withdrawal because he hadn't
heard it officially.
It's harder to imagine any other Republican in the
field getting a Brownback nod, although former
Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is a possibility. The
Kansas senator has bitterly criticized Romney, and
Giuliani is disliked by many religious conservatives
because of his abortion rights and gay rights
Associated Press Writers Liz Sidoti, Jim Kuhnhenn and
Sam Hananel in Washington, Seanna Adcox in South
Carolina and Holly Ramer in New Hampshire contributed
to this report.