Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Mark Sanford is dropping his bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, the former South Carolina governor announced Tuesday in New Hampshire.
The candidate blamed Democrats' impeachment inquiry for his departure from the race less than one year before Election Day.
"You have got to be a realist and what I did not anticipate is an impeachment; you have had only two of them in the history of this country," Sanford said standing outside the New Hampshire statehouse.
He said he wanted to find other ways to advance issues he cares about -- the federal debt and the economy.
"You cannot have a meaningful debate on what we do about that debt and deficit, what comes next financially for this country," Sanford added.
"Instead it is red team versus blue team, us against them, the complete debate is about whether you are on this team or that team."
Sanford announced his presidential bid about two months ago, becoming the third Republican to challenge Trump. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., have also announced their candidacies.
Weld said Sanford's presence in the Republican primary will be missed.
"A true fiscal conservative, he has advocated the common-sense policies too seldom heard from Donald Trump or anyone else in Washington," Weld said. "It is shameful that the Trump-controlled South Carolina state party canceled a primary in which Mark could have been a real factor."