Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio presenter, announced Thursday that he was terminating his Republican presidential campaign in 2024 and embracing former President Donald Trump.
Elder, who unsuccessfully campaigned to unseat California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election in 2021, said in a statement that he had made the “difficult decision” to withdraw his candidacy and back Trump. He called Trump’s leadership “instrumental in advancing conservative America-first principles and policies that have benefited our great nation.”
He said now was the time to unite behind Trump to beat President Joe Biden. He also said he hoped his campaign had shined a light on the issues important to him, including fatherlessness, fighting crime and opposition to the idea that the U.S. is a racist country.
Elder is the fourth major candidate to drop out of the race, following Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, former Texas congressman Will Hurd and businessman Perry Johnson.
He announced his long-shot campaign in April, saying that “America is in decline, but this decline in not inevitable.”
“We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That’s why I’m running for President,” he wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Elder received little attention in a primary race dominated by Trump and featuring other high-profile candidates like as former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
He was not among the Republican contenders on stage for either presidential debate after failing to meet the Republican National Committee’s polling and donor requirements. After missing the first debate, he filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that the rules governing debate participation were not equally applied to all candidates.
Elder made his first bid for public office in 2021, when he received the most votes out of 46 people who were hoping to replace Newsom in a recall effort. But a majority of voters ended up voting against removing Newsom, making the vote count in the replacement contest irrelevant.
Some Democrats say Elder’s role as a foil to Newsom helped the Democratic governor inspire voters in liberal California to turn out and reject the recall. Newsom attacked Elder for his support of Trump and his conservative positions, such as opposing abortion rights and restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as mask mandates.
However, Elder claimed that his experience running for government — and the millions of votes he received — demonstrated that he had a message that resonated with voters. Elder, a lawyer who grew up in Los Angeles’ harsh South Central area, went to an Ivy League college before attending law school. He has a following among conservatives thanks to his radio shows, and he has appeared frequently on Fox News and other right-wing media outlets.
Elder, a Black man, has questioned Democrats’ “woke” agenda, Black Lives Matter, and the concept of systemic racism, viewpoints that have pitted him against many other Black individuals.