(CNN) - Republican strategist and former presidential adviser Karl Rove said Thursday that Rep. Gresham Barrett will have a tough time catching up to state Rep. Nikki Haley in the South Carolina gubernatorial runoff.
Haley captured 49 percent of the vote in Tuesday's GOP primary, while Barrett finished a distant second. The runoff election is June 22 and some Republicans have suggested that Barrett step aside and let Haley become the nominee.
Asked in a Fox News appearance if Barrett should drop out of the runoff, Rove answered, "Well, he's a really good man and this is a decision that's up to him."
"But you know, 49 percent - if it was a 49-46 or a 49-40, and the other candidates were rushing in to endorse Barrett, it'd be one thing," Rove said. "But 49 percent to 20-some-odd percent - that's a big gap to make up. He's got make that decision himself."
Rove predicted that Republican voters "who supported other candidates are now going to find themselves, you know, sort of moving naturally into the campaign of the candidate who got nearly as many votes as all the rest of the candidates combined."