Sen. Cory Booker announced Monday that he will end his campaign after failing to qualify for the Democratic debate planned for Tuesday in Iowa.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory,” Booker said in an email to supporters Monday.
The New Jersey Democrat’s announcement came a day before six presidential candidates will participate in the CNN/Des Moines Register’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa. He did not qualify for the event. It also came as the Senate gears up for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“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,” Booker wrote.
His announcement marks another departure of a high-profile black candidate from the 2020 race. After not making the December debate, Booker criticized the rules that kept him from qualifying for the event and was outspoken about the growing lack of diversity on stage.
Booker made the decision over the weekend to drop out of the race, a campaign aide tells CNN.
The looming impeachment trial, which would have kept Booker off of the trail for some time, was “a piece, but not a big piece” of his decision. Most importantly, Booker believed he did not have the resources to truly be competitive moving forward. Booker reported raising $6.6 million in the last quarter of 2019, a fraction of the amounts raised by the top Democratic candidates. It’s not clear how much money he had left in the bank.
It is also not clear whether Booker plans to endorse another Democratic candidate in the primary, the aide said, but as his statement made clear, he will support the nominee.
The New Jersey Democrat ran for president aiming to restore a sense of community and mend the moral fabric of America.
Booker launched his candidacy in February 2019 with a message he would remain faithful to throughout his campaign, calling on Americans who are feeling “a common pain” to come together in “common purpose” for greater justice and systemic change.
Booker pressed for reforming the nation’s gun laws, including establishing a national gun license program. He advocated expansive criminal justice reform, including legalizing marijuana and expunging records of those already convicted for marijuana-related crimes. And Booker frequently shone a light on policy blindspots concerning marginalized communities, citing his own low-income, minority-majority neighborhood in Newark.
But unlike some of his rivals, Booker focused less on policy than on the “spiritual” side of the presidency. He viewed the White House as a moral post from which to inspire and guide a dispirited nation.
Even as his campaign failed to pick up steam, Booker rejected pivoting from that message or overhauling his strategy. Instead, he continued to preach the need for “radical love” — resisting the political incentive structure, in the age of Trump, that rewards channeling the anger of some Democratic activists. Read more