BREAKING: A Presidential Candidate Just Dropped Out Of Race

The field of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination continues to shrink.

Coming on the heels of Monday’s announcement by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that he was dropping out of the race, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign.

Paul finished fifth in Monday’s Iowa caucuses. In most polls throughout the Republican pre-primary season, Paul drew single-digit support. Paul campaigned on a platform of reducing the federal government’s role in America and around the world.

Paul’s statement announcing his decision was brief.

“It’s been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of liberty. Across the country thousands upon thousands of young people flocked to our message of limited government, privacy, criminal justice reform and a reasonable foreign policy. Brush fires of liberty were ignited, and those will carry on, as will I.

“Although, today I will suspend my campaign for President, the fight is far from over. I will continue to carry the torch for liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term.”

In one of his last campaign tweets, Paul sounded a note of defiance and captured the main themes of his campaign.

“We are not trading our liberty for anything. Not now, not never. Hell no,” he tweeted.

In the race to keep his Senate seat, Paul faces Democrat Jim Gray, who is also mayor of Lexington.

h/t: Fox News

Fox News Just Announced The Next GOP Debate Candidate Lineup – One Thing People Instantly Notice…

When Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul narrowly missed the threshold needed to make it to the main stage for a debate earlier this month, he staged a boycott of the event. Opting to host his own social media town hall event instead, Paul lamented the poll-driven strategy used to determine placement in — or exclusion from — the debates.

“It’s kind of ridiculous to arbitrarily rate the campaigns based on national polling,” he said at the time.

Some pundits suggested Paul actually came out of the debate as a big winner, citing several media appearances and increased online discussion of his candidacy as evidence that he likely gained more exposure via his boycott than if he had been invited to participate in the prime-time event. Just two weeks later, polling results suggest the strategy might have worked to the Kentucky senator’s favor.

The Fox News Channel, which is hosting Thursday’s debate along with Google, announced the official top-tier lineup on Tuesday. Paul was among the eight GOP candidates included.

Set to be situated once again behind a center-stage podium, front-runner Donald Trump will be flanked by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for the final debate before next week’s Iowa caucus. In addition to Paul, the rest of the lineup includes Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Carly Fiorina, who also fought her way back to the main stage after faltering earlier on in the primary season, will once again be relegated to the second-tier debate. Taking place two hours before the 9 p.m. ET prime-time event, the participants in the early debate include, in addition to Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore.

Watch: Ron Paul Just Revealed Who He Thinks Will Win GOP Nomination – It’s Not Who You’d Expect

Former congressman Ron Paul, the father of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Wednesday it is realistic to assume Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee for president. However, in comments on Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg Show, Paul couched his prediction amid a condemnation of polling and a castigation of the political system.

On the show, Malzberg asked Ron Paul, “Realistically, is Trump going to be the nominee at this point?”

“At this point, it certainly is realistic,” Ron Paul replied, then qualified that statement.

“If I had a limited amount of money to bet, I probably wouldn’t invest a whole lot … All this talk for this last year and a half—there hasn’t even been a vote cast. It’s all been done by polling which, for the most part, is generally rigged,” he said.

“They pick people, they boost them up. It’s entertainment,” he said. “And Trump really fit into that quite well.”

Paul said that when the dust of the upcoming Iowa caucuses settles, his son’s finish may stun the pundits.

“I think he may well surprise everybody because he has a good organization and caucus states are different,” Ron Paul said.

Ron Paul continued to discuss his belief that the political system is rigged.

“(Rand) has a different position on civil liberty and the war on drugs and Fox (said): ‘No way, we’re not going to have you out there. We’re going to find a way to exclude you.’ So they excluded Rand Paul,” he said, discussing the Fox Business Network’s decision to not allow his son at the main debate. Rand Paul later boycotted the event entirely.

“And they’re in a tizzy now, the Republican Party, because they got to change the rules again because we certainly don’t want to help Trump,” he said. “It is a very unfair system. The political system is very corrupt.”

h/t: IJ Review

Right Before The Debate, Rand Paul Sent A Message To The Media – And Didn’t Use Words

Days before Thursday’s debate, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul announced he would be boycotting the event due to polling requirements that would have relegated him to the second-tier stage. While his absence was expected, Paul did create some buzz with a non-verbal message he sent to the media just before his rivals gathered in South Carolina for the Fox Business Network debate.

In a social media image shared by ABC News’ Aaron Katersky Thursday morning, Paul’s middle finger is clearly raised in what the broadcaster said was “a message for the media today after his debate demotion.”

His campaign on Thursday also posted a recorded message from Paul, in which he lamented the “arbitrary and capricious polling standards” that kept him off of the main stage.

“My voice is unique in the party,” he said, “and should not be banished.”

At one point during the prime-time debate that night, it was clear that Paul was not the only one upset with his status. A group of supporters interrupted the event with a chant of “We Want Rand.”

The Kentucky senator’s protest was arguably a success, as his debate appearance was replaced by a live “Twitter town hall” with supporters across the U.S.

Paul further exploited the situation to his advantage through numerous interviews conducted in the days leading up to the debate. As The Hill’s Bradford Richardson noted, Paul likely reached a significantly larger audience through his boycott than if he had participated in the undercard debate.

One GOP Candidate Just Announced He’s BOYCOTTING The Next Debate

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul expressed anger Monday after the Fox Business Network announced he did not qualify for Thursday’s main debate among GOP presidential hopefuls.

“I think they’ve made a mistake,” Paul said.

In reaction to the network’s decision, the Republican senator from Kentucky said he will boycott the second-tier debate for which Fox Business said he was eligible. “I’m not willing to accept a designation as a minor campaign. We’ve raised $25 million. We’ve gotten on the ballot on every state. It’s kind of ridiculous to arbitrarily rate the campaigns based on national polling.”

Paul criticized the “arbitrary, capricious polling standard” imposed by the network.

“It won’t take much for our supporters to understand why we’re doing this,” Paul explained in discussing his boycott. “You want war? We’ll give it to you.”

Paul had qualified for the main debate in each of the previous five GOP debates.

To qualify for Thursday’s main stage, a candidate had to place in the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls, or in the top five in an average of the five most recent polls in Iowa or New Hampshire.

The Paul campaign’s statement issued Monday said Fox Business was “creating ‘tiers’” based on “bad science” and called it “irresponsible.”

“By any reasonable criteria, Senator Paul has a top-tier campaign,” the statement said. “He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.”

The lineup for Thursday’s 9 p.m. ET debate includes Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

The 6 p.m. ET debate will include Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Thursday’s debates will be held at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, S.C.

h/t: TheBlaze