Former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island Steve Laffey drops out of GOP primary race
By Laura Harris // Oct 12, 2023

Former Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Steve Laffey, once a hopeful contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, recently announced his withdrawal from the GOP primary race.

Laffey previously served as the mayor of Cranston from 2003 to 2007 and made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for Senate in the state in 2006. After more than 40 years as a Republican and eight months on the campaign trail, Laffey officially resigned from the party, effective immediately.

In an interview with ABC News, Laffey admitted that he loves being on the campaign trail, but also confessed that his inability to gain traction and failure to qualify for the debate stage contributed to his decision. He also revealed that he no longer believes in the direction of the Republican Party and plans to register as an independent.

"I don't have an avenue to tell people with a straight face, 'It's now October – how do I take off and take New Hampshire and keep going?' But at the same time, I'm telling people the GOP is dead," Laffey said.

Moreover, Laffey's Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing revealed that his campaign faced financial constraints, with only $18,589.04 raised and $106,484.95 in cash at the end of the second quarter. However, he still intends to settle any outstanding campaign bills and donate any remaining funds after dropping out. Although he does not have immediate plans for his post-campaign life, he still hopes he can contribute positively to politics.

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"I still think there's a body of work that I can contribute to. I don't know what it's exactly going to be, I wish I did," Laffey said. "You haven't heard the last from me. It just won't be, at least for now, as a Republican candidate for president, and it won't be as a Republican."

Laffey: GOP a laughingstock under Trump

Laffey, who formally launched his campaign in February, became one of the first Republicans to enter the race following former President Donald Trump's announcement in November 2022.

He is a lifelong GOP member who has been involved in conservative events since his Bowdoin University days. Now, he places much of the blame for the party's current state on former President Donald Trump. He even claimed that the party had become a "laughingstock" under the influence of Trump. "He's an authoritarian figure who's getting stronger," Laffey stated.

The former presidential candidate also believes that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is a direct result of Trump's influence, and the recent ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his role in the House of Representatives was a breaking point for him.

Laffey also criticized the GOP's response toward Trump's liability for sexual battery and defamation of writer E. Jean Carroll. He said that should have been a moment for Christians within the party to "galvanize" against Trump, but it did not materialize.

Trump remains the unbeatable frontrunner for the GOP primary race with a 40-point lead in national polls and early-voting states. (Related: Mainstream media DISMAYED by poll result showing Trump leading Biden by 9 points in hypothetical head-to-head matchup.)

And it's not just even in national polls and early-voting states. In a recent survey conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post, Trump remains ahead of incumbent President Joe Biden by nine percentage points in a hypothetical matchup, with 51 percent support for Trump and 42 percent for the president.

Follow to learn more about the candidates in the GOP presidential primary.

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Sources include: 1 2

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