Cory Booker drops out of 2020 presidential race

Adam Warner
January 13, 2020 - 11:05 am
Sen. Cory Booker

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Sen. Cory Booker ended his campaign for president Monday nearly a year after he entered the crowded Democratic field.

In an email to supporters, Booker said that he “got into this race to win” and that his failure to make the debates prevented him from raising raise the money required for victory.

"Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win -- money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington," he said.

President Trump resonded to the news on Twitter, writing: "Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out of the Democrat Presidential Primary Race. Now I can rest easy tonight. I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!"

Booker struggled to find a large enough following to lift him in the polls—he continuously polled in the single digits—since entering the race last February. His departure now leaves a field that was once the most diverse in history with just one remaining African American candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Booker’s exit from the presidential race further narrows the once two dozen-strong field, which now stands at 12 candidates.

Only six candidates will take part in Tuesday night's CNN debate in Des Moines—Booker was among those who didn't make the cut. They are: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer. The debate starts at 9 p.m. ET.

In his email to supporters, Booker pledged to do “everything in my power to elect the eventual Democratic nominee for president," though his campaign says he has no immediate plans to endorse a candidate in the primary.

His departure was a humbling finish for someone who was once lauded by Oprah Winfrey as the “rock star mayor” who helped lead the renewal of Newark, New Jersey. During his seven years in City Hall, Booker was known for his headline-grabbing feats of local do-goodery, including running into a burning building to save a woman, and his early fluency with social media, which brought him 1.4 million followers on Twitter when the platform was little used in politics. His rhetorical skills and Ivy League background often brought comparisons to President Barack Obama, and he'd been discussed as a potential presidential contender since his arrival in the Senate in 2013.

Booker’s message of hope and love seemed to fall flat during an era characterized perhaps most strongly by Democratic fury over the actions of the Trump administration. He struggled to land on a message that would resonate with voters. He's long been seen as a progressive Democrat in the Senate, pushing for criminal justice reform and marijuana legalization. He was also among the first candidates to release a gun control plan.

But he also sought to frame himself as an uplifting, unifying figure who emphasized his bipartisan work record. That didn't land in a Democratic primary that has often rewarded candidates who promised voters they were tough-minded fighters who could take on Trump.

Booker's seat is up for a vote this year, and he will run for reelection to the Senate. A handful of candidates has launched campaigns for the seat, but Booker is expected to have an easy path to reelection.

In his statement Monday he wrote "I will carry this fight forward -- I just won't be doing it as a candidate for president this year."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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