LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Monday night he was dropping out of the 2016 presidential race.

LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Monday night he was dropping out of the 2016 presidential race.


"I am officially suspending my campaign. Thank you for all your loyal support," Huckabee said in a tweet at 9:26 p.m. Central Time, as results from the Iowa caucuses showed him near the bottom of the GOP pack.


Huckabee finished with 1.8 percent of the vote, according to the Iowa secretary of state’s office.


Huckabee won Iowa’s Republican caucus in his first presidential bid in 2008 and went on to finish second to Arizona Sen. John McCain in that year’s national GOP primary. But in his second campaign for the office, Huckabee struggled to raise money and fell so far behind other candidates in the polls that he failed to qualify for the main stage in some televised debates.


In December, Huckabee saw the departure of communications director Alice Stewart, who had served as his press secretary when he was governor of Arkansas and during his 2008 presidential campaign. She took a job with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won in Iowa on Monday.


Huckabee sat out the 2012 presidential race, focusing instead on his Fox News talk show, national radio show and book writing. He announced his second presidential bid in his hometown of Hope in May and received the support of many Arkansas elected officials, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson.


Hutchinson tweeted Tuesday that Huckabee "ran a passionate race for POTUS. His sense of humor & upbeat hope for America will be missed. Honored to support him early."


Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said Tuesday, "With the end of Governor Huckabee’s campaign for president, Governor Hutchinson will now take a look at the rest of the Republican field and endorse the candidate he believes best suited to lead our country and win in November. No decision is expected until closer to the March 1 primary date."


Also suspending his campaign Tuesday night was Democrat Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, who received 0.5 percent of the vote in the Democratic caucus. Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton narrowly bested Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic caucus, with Clinton receiving 49.8 percent of the vote and Sanders 49.6 percent.