John Bolton Won't Run for President in 2016

Image: John Bolten
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)Jose Luis Magana / AP

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Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says he’s not running for president after all.

In a statement and Facebook video, Bolton, who held the ambassador post under President George W. Bush, said he won’t be a candidate but that he will keep advocating for a strong foreign policy.

"Looking forward, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for president," he said. "I believe I can make the strongest contribution to our future by continuing as a clear and consistent advocate for a strong Reaganite foreign policy that values peace through strength."

Bolton’s PACs could provide a notable boost to a candidate he decides to support – or a significant threat to a presidential hopeful he targets as too weak on national security. In 2014, the organizations raised over $7 million to aid GOP candidates.

Bolton had been looking at the possibility of a run for months, traveling to key primary states New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina to tout his foreign policy credentials. He also considered a White House bid in 2012 but ultimately did not pursue it.

While foreign policy is the top issue of concern for GOP primary voters, Bolton would have been an extreme longshot in the presidential primary contest. Most public polls have not included his name at all due to his low level of support; a recent University of New Hampshire poll found him with just one percent of Republicans in the state naming him as their first or second choice candidate.

- Carrie Dann and Kasie Hunt