GOP race gets smaller with departure of Sen. Graham

FILE - In this March 12, 2015 file photo, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Graham, about to enter the crowded GOP field of presidential hopefuls, has announced he's retiring from the Air Force Reserve. The South Carolina Republican, who serves part-time as an attorney in the service, is expected to make his presidential candidacy official on Monday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – The number of Republican presidential candidates remaining dwindled down on Monday with the news of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s decision to drop his White House bid.

Sign of the times

In a sign of the times, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) used YouTube to release his final statement from the campaign. Graham thanked his supporters and staff for helping him throughout the campaign despite the low poll numbers across the country. The video message was released with just under two months until voting begins in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I want to thank everyone who’s taken this journey with me,” said Sen. Graham during the nearly two minute long video.

Not much of a chance

The latest polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina never gave the Graham campaign much to brag about. A recent CBS News / YouGov poll showed Graham between 0%-1% in most early states.

GOP South Carolina Standings
CBS News / YouGov Poll

Trump: 38%
Cruz: 23%
Rubio: 12%
Carson: 9%
Bush: 7%
Paul: 4%
Christie: 1%
Fiorina: 1%
Graham 1%

Support comes rolling in

While Sen. Graham leaves the race without much to show as an accomplishment, he is getting support from his fellow Republicans and other GOP hopefuls.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) also released a statement on Monday thanking Graham for keeping the 2016 race competitive.

“Lindsey is a good guy, a very funny guy,” Rubio said. “We will miss his humor on the campaign trail. We look forward to hearing more of it on the Senate floor.”

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