Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder announced Thursday that he was ending his 2024 Republican campaign for president and endorsing former President Donald Trump.
Elder, who sought to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a failed 2021 recall effort, said in a statement that he had made the “difficult decision” to end his bid after “careful consideration and consultation” with his team and to throw his support behind Trump. Trump’s leadership, he said, was “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 suspend or end his 2024 GOP bid, following Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, former Texas congressman Will Hurd and businessman Perry Johnson. Johnson also backed Trump on his way out of the race, while Hurd endorsed former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
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 found little visibility in a primary race dominated by Trump and including other high-profile figures such as Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Elder wasn’t among the GOP candidates on stage for either presidential debate after failing to meet the polling and donor qualifications required by the Republican National Committee to participate. He said he filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission after missing the first one, alleging the rules about debate participation weren’t 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.
But Elder said the experience of running for office — and the millions of votes he received — showed he had a message that resonated with voters. A lawyer who grew up in Los Angeles’ rough South Central neighborhood, Elder attended an Ivy League college and then law school. He has a following among conservatives through his radio programs and has been a frequent guest on Fox News and other right-wing media.
Elder, who is Black, has criticized Democrats’ “woke” agenda, Black Lives Matter and the notion of systemic racism, positions that have put him at odds with many other Black people.