Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Fox News' Bret Baier on "Special Report" he is suspending his presidential campaign.
Jindal said he was born to "believe Americans can do anything," but that he's come to the realization that "this is not my time."
"Going forward, I believe we have to be the party of growth and we can never stop being the party that believes in opportunity," Jindal said in a statement announcing his decision. "We cannot settle for the left's view of envy and division. We have to be the party that says everyone in this country - no matter the circumstances of their birth or who their parents are - can succeed in America."
When asked by Baier why his candidacy didn't take off, Jindal said his campaign spent "a lot of time" developing policy papers, but "clearly there wasn't a lot of interest" in those papers.
The 44-year-old governor told Baier he is not endorsing another candidate right now, but will support the eventual Republican presidential nominee.
"At the end of the day I trust the American people to select our nominee for the next president," he said Tuesday. "I want someone who's got the smarts to make big changes."
The Louisiana governor touched on the recent terror attacks in Paris, saying the U.S. needs "different leadership" going forward in dealing with ISIS.
"They hate our freedoms," Jindal told Baier. "The attack on Paris was not just an attack on the French, it was an attack on our way of life."
He also addressed the growing controversy among governors of 25 U.S. states over the Syrian refugee program.
"We don't want these refugees in our state," Jindal said.
Jindal said that he's ordered Louisiana State Police to track the 13 Syrian refugees that have been sent to his state so far by the federal government.
"Why would we let people in the country when ISIS has told us they are going to send terrorists with these refugees?" he said.
The nation's first elected Indian-American governor, who is term-limited and will be out of office in January, told Baier he will work with a think tank he started a few years ago called America Next.
Jindal had focused his entire campaign effort on the early voting state of Iowa and evangelical voters while attempting broaden his appeal as a candidate with conservative policy plans that others weren't offering.
But he never won much support in Iowa or elsewhere against higher-profile Republican candidates such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Jindal's low poll numbers kept him off the main debate stages where he could have drawn more attention, and his fundraising lagged.
He was also facing a major cash crunch to keep the campaign going, after wrapping up the last fundraising period with $261,000 on hand, in addition to low approval ratings and criticism about his governing back in Louisiana, which followed him as he campaigned for the White House.
Some of Jindal's advisers blamed finances as well as the debate criteria that locked him out of the prime-time events for the governor's decision to exit the competition.
"He's been thinking about it for a few weeks," campaign strategist Curt Anderson told the Associated Press. "It's not easy. He's a fighter and his instinct is to never give up, but also you have to be realistic in politics."
Shane Vander Hart, author of a conservative Iowa blog who recently endorsed Jindal, also expressed disappointment, saying Jindal was getting good reaction in Iowa, though he struggled to gain traction in the polls.
"If you've done any of his events, retail politicking is one of his strengths. People as they got to know him liked him," Vander Hart told the AP.
Jindal is the third Republican contender to exit the race, all governors. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended their campaigns earlier this year.
Timmy Teepell, Jindal's campaign manager and longtime political adviser, said the governor was heading home to Louisiana to announce his plan for closing a $490 million budget deficit before traveling the state as he wraps up his tenure in office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.