Rand Paul
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has announced his withdrawal from the White House raceGetty

Presidential hopeful Rand Paul has announced his withdrawal from the race to become the Republican/GOP nominee for the US 2016 election. The Kentucky senator confirmed he had dropped his bid for the White House on 3 February, one day after his poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, in which he was placed fifth in the list of Republican hopefuls with 4.54% of the vote.

In a statement released to US press outlets by his campaigners, Paul said: "It's been an incredible honour to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty.

"Across our country, thousands upon thousands flocked to our message of limited government, privacy, criminal justice reform and a reasonable foreign policy. Bushfires of Liberty were ignited, and those will carry on, as will I. Although, today I will suspend my campaign for president, the fight is far from over. I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate, and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."

His official withdrawal from the race comes after he boycotted a January presidential debate after being moved to the undercard debate at 6pm, rather than joining the main debate at 9pm. His team had said at the time that he had a top-tier campaign and deserved to be on the main debate, rather than sidelined based on the national, Iowa and New Hampshire polls that decided who the main players in the debate would be.

Initially touted as a likely frontrunner for the Republican nomination – although recently dwarfed by support for current GOP frontrunner Ted Cruz and publicity-hungry Donald Trump – Paul is likely to now focus his attention on being re-elected to the Senate. Senate elections are set to take place on 8 November 2016, alongside the presidential election, when Democrat Jim Gray is to contest Paul for Kentucky.