Saying he has 'no regrets', Governor Tommy Thompson thanked his supporters Saturday night and officially left the campaign trail.
"I want to thank the people of Iowa who were welcoming and supportive as well as my volunteers and contributors from around the country," said Thompson. "I have no regrets about running. I felt my record as Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as President, but I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."
Thompson, who was elected to serve four terms as Wisconsin Governor and four years as Secretary of Health and Human Services, began exploring a presidential bid last December. Weeks ago, he told supporters and the news media that if he did not do well in the Iowa Straw Poll, he would step aside and leave others to work for the Republican nomination.
"No candidate is more experienced than Governor Thompson and no candidate worked harder; but sometimes the dynamics just aren't there to bring about a victory," said Steve Grubbs, Senior Advisor to Thompson's campaign. "The Governor's staff was deeply committed to him and to his candidacy. If we could have willed a victory, we would have."
Thompson will return to the private sector as well as his non-profit work after a brief time off.
"I have very much enjoyed my years in public service and I am comforted by the fact that I think I made a difference for people during that time. I hope to continue working to serve others over the next few years," said Thompson.
Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.