“I will carry this fight forward — I just won’t be doing it as a candidate for president this year,” Booker wrote. “It’s with a full heart that I share this news — I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president.”
Booker launched his campaign last February and despite building a formidable ground operation in the early states, he could never break into the top tier, polling consistently in the single digits.
Booker continued to fall behind in fundraising efforts and expressed concern that Donald Trump’s impending impeachment trial will require time away from the campaign trail.
“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.
After failing to qualify for the debate stage in December, Booker asked the Democratic Party to change the thresholds for debate qualifications. Since California Senator Kamala Harris suspended her campaign at the end of 2019, there are now no African-Americans on stage at the debate.
Booker also did not qualify for this Tuesday’s debate in Iowa, which will be the first to feature only white candidates.
“Of all of the people who’ve qualified for the next Democratic debate stage, not one is a person of color,” Booker wrote in an email to supporters a couple of days ago. “For a party as diverse as ours, in an election where communities of color will decide the outcome, that’s wrong.”
Booker, whose message primarily focused on unification and resurrecting former President Obama’s winning coalition, also criticized the late entrance of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the presidential race.
Booker has been one of the leading voices on gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform in the presidential race. In May, Booker released his gun safety plan, which called for a gun licensing program. And on the campaign trail, Booker often touted his work in passing criminal justice reform under the Trump administration.