California Rep. Duncan Hunter dropped out of the Republican presidential race after placing near the bottom of the pack in Nevada's voting.
In a statement, Hunter said he recognized that his campaign had not gained traction and he said he will return to the House of Representatives to do legislative work on defense issues:
"We started this campaign a year ago right here, in San Diego Harbor, against the backdrop of American Naval power. We launched a campaign emphasizing a strong national defense, enforceable borders and restoring the industrial base of America.
"Today we end this campaign. The Nevada caucuses reflecting only 2% of the vote for me. I ran the campaign exactly the way I wanted to, and at this point not being able to gain traction in conservative states of Nevada and South Carolina, it's time to allow our volunteers and supporters to focus on the campaigns that remain viable.
"It's time for me to gear up for 2008's defense bill that will be put together over the coming weeks. There is work to be done in the areas of troop protection and new capabilities to be deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And over the horizon, the emergence of Communist China as a military super power will require a new emphasis on U.S. capabilities in undersea warfare, space, and long range air-power.
"The best way to maintain a new era of peace is for the U.S. to remain strong. Over the coming year I will endeavor to help craft a defense bill that meets the new security challenges.
"Since our campaign began over 200,000 additional manufacturing jobs have been lost. 1.8 million jobs have left the U.S. for China. This fracturing of the U.S. industrial base is a long term threat to America. I hope that the remaining candidates will recognize it and address it. As the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, I will seek to address it.
Only hours ago a border patrolman was killed in the California Desert.
"This tragedy emphasizes more than ever the compelling case for the completion of the border fence. Since I wrote the bill that mandates 854 miles of double border fence only a few miles have been constructed. Over the next year in Congress I will do everything in my power to get that fence built."
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