Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., announced Thursday he will be dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. At a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Tancredo said that his campaign “always knew the odds were enormous” that he could earn the nomination.
Tancredo has used his election bid primarily as a platform to push a tough immigration reform agenda and has been credited with helping to bring the issue to the forefront of the dialogue in the 2008 election. Several of the Republican candidates have also taken a hard-line stance on illegal immigration — at the recent CNN/YouTube GOP debate, Tancredo accused them of “trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo.”
At Thursday’s press conference, Tancredo said, “I am ecstatic about the fact that we can say that we’ve make remarkable progress along those lines.” And in a letter to supporters on his campaign website, Tancredo said that his decision to run was “the only way I could be certain that the candidates would be forced to take a stand” on immigration, and that now “We even have Hillary jumping through hoops on the issue!”
After his announcement, the congressman threw his support behind former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, citing their similar attitudes on several aspects of immigration policy.
But according to a survey by the Pew Hispanic Center released this week, the GOP candidates’ staunch immigration stances may be causing them to lose ground with Hispanic voters.
Tancredo had consistently polled at the bottom of the pack, garnering just 2 percent support among Iowans in a mid-December Washington Post-ABC News poll.
However, the congressman did not let low poll numbers stifle the vigor with which he touted his immigration platform. The Tancredo camp released several controversial TV and radio ads throughout his run, which attempted to connect illegal immigration to terrorist attacks and violent gang-related crime.
Tancredo had previously announced that he would not seek re-election for his congressional seat, but has yet to say what his future plans will be now that he is off the campaign trail.