Bye-Bye Brownback, Kansas Republican to Drop Out of '08 Race

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger report

Just a week ago, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R) conceded that he would drop out of the presidential race unless he finishes in the top four in the Iowa caucuses in January. "I need to finish in that group to move on forward," Brownback said.

As it turns out, Brownback apparently won't wait quite that long.
Republican Sam Brownback will drop out of the 2008 presidential campaign on Friday, people close to the Kansas senator said Thursday.
Brownback, a longshot conservative contender, had trouble raising money to compete in the race. He is expected announce his withdrawal in Topeka, Kan.
He raised a little more than $800,000 in the third quarter of this year, his lowest quarterly amount since entering race. He has brought in more than $4 million overall and is eligible for $2 million in federal matching funds.
One source "close to Brownback" told the AP, "I know Senator Brownback enjoyed campaigning and meeting new people in talking about ideas for the future of America, but I think it came down to money."

Brownback becomes the third presidential candidate to drop out of the Republican field, following former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore and former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson.

The next question, of course, is how Brownback's exit is likely to affect the race.

By all appearances, not much. Despite a lengthy congressional career and fealty to a far-right agenda, Brownback has consistently been stuck in the low-single-digit range in state and national polls.

But that's not to say Brownback's departure is entirely irrelevant. Rigid social conservatives, for example, are still uncertain about their candidate. In Iowa, where far-right theocons hold disproportionate influence, the choices have effectively narrowed to Mitt Romney (who was a social liberal up until fairly recently) and Mike Huckabee (who has very little money and is not perceived as competitive). A few months ago, Brownback had a base of support around 5%, and in a competitive caucus, that could make a difference.

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