February 7, 2020 / 12:51 PM / 18 days ago

Ex-Republican lawmaker Walsh ends bid to challenge Trump for White House

FILE PHOTO: 2020 Republican U.S. presidential candidates and former U.S. congressman Joe Walsh speaks during a debate in New York, U.S. September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Joe Walsh, a conservative former U.S. congressman-turned-radio show host, has ended a long-shot bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

He also said he would support a Democrat in November’s election.

“I can’t stop him (Trump) in a Republican primary, but I can sure do my level best to try to stop him ...by bringing people together,” Walsh told CNN in an interview on Friday.

“Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House,” he said later.

Walsh was elected to a congressional seat in Illinois in 2010 as part of the right-wing Tea Party movement, a confrontational populist splinter group of the Republican Party. He lost his seat two years later to Democrat Tammy Duckworth and became a Chicago-area radio talk show host.

While less than half the country approves of Trump’s performance as president, he retains high support within the Republican party.

Former South Carolina lawmaker Mark Sanford ended his bid for the party’s nomination in November. Another Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, has failed to gain traction in polls.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey; editing by John Stonestreet

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