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GOP hopeful Tommy Thompson abandons presidential bid

  • Story Highlights
  • Former Gov. Tommy Thompson ends bid for GOP presidential nomination
  • Thompson didn't meet his expectations in Ames Republican straw poll
  • Thompson campaign said he is going to return to the private sector
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From Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor
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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is abandoning his presidential bid, his campaign announced Sunday night.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Thompson, who also served in the Bush Cabinet, did not meet the expectations he set for himself in the Ames Republican straw poll held Saturday.

"I want to thank the people of Iowa who were welcoming and supportive as well as my volunteers and contributors from around the country," Thompson said in a written statement.

Thompson, former secretary of Health and Human Services, had hoped to place second in the poll. Instead, he finished sixth.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, he smiled and said he simply needed to accept that he "lost."

"There's no sense in looking back," he said.

In his statement, Thompson said he had "no regrets about running."

"I felt my record as governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president," he said.

"But I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."

Thompson had raised just over $890,000 dollars for his campaign as of June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. That total was ninth among GOP candidates.

The campaign said Thompson, who was four times elected governor of Wisconsin, would return to the "private sector." He was working as a senior partner in a law firm when he announced his candidacy in April.

Thompson had set up a presidential exploratory committee in December 2006 and filed a statement of candidacy in January.

In April, Thompson said he was hoping to appeal to Republicans who feel that other GOP candidates are not conservative enough on economic and social issues.

"I am the reliable conservative; my record shows that," he said at the time. "All that people have to do is look at my record, and I am one individual that they can count on." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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