TOPEKA, Kan. – Time to mow the yard for Sam Brownback, who saw too little of the green stuff in his presidential bid.

An emotional Brownback on Friday formally ended his bid at a statehouse news conference, saying his “Yellow Brick Road just came up short of the White House this time.”

Asked about running for governor in 2010, the Kansas Republican was explaining that he hadn’t thought of any other political races when his wife, Mary, piped up.

“The yard needs mowing first,” she said.

The Kansas senator agreed and told a gathering of supporters that he leaves the race “a better man.”

“Our ideas haven’t won yet, but neither will they be forgotten,” he added.

Despite offering a good set of issue and a solid conservative record, he said, he never gained traction with national media.

And “we’re out of money,” he added.

A lackluster third quarter didn’t bring in even $1 million, just as expenses began to soar for the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Brownback didn’t rule out a future endorsement of a rival, although former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is not a likely recipient. The party, he predicted, will nominate an anti-abortion candidate.

“I don’t see him winning the nomination,” Brownback said of Giuliani. Analysts said Brownback’s supporters in Iowa could move to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and push Giuliani to third there.

Brownback wouldn’t comment, either, on becoming a vice presidential candidate. Some in Kansas dismiss that possibility because Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, would then pick a replacement.

Brownback apologized for missing nearly 35 percent of Senate votes this session while on the campaign trail.

Asked if he would have done anything differently, Brownback mentioned his moderate stand on immigration, matching President Bush’s stance. Both lost conservative allies for supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants.

“I wouldn’t debate immigration in the middle of an election cycle,” he said. “That one was hard.”


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