SPARTANBURG, S.C. | His mother had repeatedly told him not to run, and on Saturday Jeb Bush finally caved to her political wisdom, suspending his presidential campaign after another disappointing showing in South Carolina’s primary.
“The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision. So tonight I am suspending my campaign,” he said at a post-election party in Columbia.
It was a stunning fall for the Bush family dynasty, which, along with the Clinton family, has been either president or vice president for 28 of the last 36 years.
His fellow candidates praised him for running a spirited race — though they clearly had an eye on wooing the 10 percent or so of voters he won between New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“I like him. He’s a good person, he’s a good man,” front-runner Donald Trump said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday. “It was just not his time. Four years ago, I think he would’ve won.”
Mr. Bush placed fourth in South Carolina, following a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire and a sixth-place finish in Iowa.
His old-style campaign resonated with voters who liked the plentiful experience the former Florida governor brought to the race.
“He’s the only one that didn’t get up there and have a hissy fit,” said Tammie Bowers, who said she at one point considered every candidate in the field, but rejected the others as too brash.
“This is South Carolina; we don’t like anybody that’s nasty,” said her husband David, also a Bush voter.
But other voters said they were tired of the Bush team.
“Don’t need another Bush. Not at this time,” said Austin Hennessy, who said he was wary of the younger Mr. Bush turning to his brother and father for advice in the White House.
It was exactly that sort of attitude that led Mr. Bush’s mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, to repeatedly and publicly urge him not to run. She said the country should move on from her famous family.
“We’ve had enough Bushes,” she said in 2013, insisting that while her son was a good candidate, his run would attract opposition from the Bush family’s political “enemies,” while its friends would be divided among the large field. She continued to pour cold water on a run in 2014, telling C-SPAN that the country should look beyond the Bushes and the Clintons for their next presidents.
Mr. Bush took the plunge anyway.
At first it appeared to pay off, as he and his allied groups raised far more money than the other candidates. As late as last July, he led in the national polls amid a crowded field, and he had an extensive staff preparing to wage a state-by-state battle.
But he was stopped cold by Donald Trump, who within a month of announcing for president soared to the top of the national polls and has maintained his lead ever since. Mr. Trump also issued a devastating critique of Mr. Bush, deeming him too “low-energy” to be a successful president.
Mr. Bush tried to recover here in South Carolina, deploying his mother and his brother, former President George W. Bush. The Bush campaign and its allies also outspent the other campaigns in television advertising.
Still, he struggled to connect with voters enticed by Mr. Trump and a new generation of leaders in Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
With Mr. Bush out, the campaigns will now fight for his supporters. Pundits have argued those voters are likely to go to Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Mr. Rubio, but Mr. Trump disputed that Saturday night.
“As people drop out, I’m going to get a lot of those votes also,” he said.