MILWAUKEE - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a campaign official said Sunday.
His campaign released a statement saying the Republican is leaving the campaign trail several hours after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson told one of its reporters he was withdrawing.
The campaign statement said Thompson intends to take some time off before returning to the private sector and his non-profit work.
"I have no regrets about running," Thompson said in a statement issued by his campaign Sunday night.
"I felt my record as governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters," he said. "I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."
Thompson made the announcement one day after finishing a disappointing sixth in the Republican Iowa straw poll won by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Sunday, Romney defended his win, saying low turnout and the absence of some notable opponents shouldn't diminish his victory.
Romney said the straw poll did just what it was designed to do: Let candidates demonstrate support that could propel them to victory in the state's caucuses this winter.