Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke on Friday took himself out of the running for the Democratic presidential nomination, bowing to low campaign coffers and even lower poll numbers.
The once-darling of the Democratic Party, who won acclaim last year when he came within mere points of beating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in historically red Texas, entered the race for the Democratic presidential nod to much fanfare and millions in donor dollars, the New York Times reports.
But within weeks, both his poll numbers and donor dollars dropped as his candidacy failed to ignite passions.
“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” O’Rourke wrote on Medium, according to the Associated Press. “Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”
O’Rourke tried to remake his campaign during the summer—especially after a mass shooting targeting the Latinx community occurred in his hometown of El Paso, Texas—with the candidate going hard on gun reform, as well as on matters of race.
As the Times reports:
That last phase of his campaign ha[d] taken Mr. O’Rourke far beyond the early-state circuit, and included visits with prison inmates in California and an immigrant community in Mississippi. In an August interview following the El Paso massacre, Mr. O’Rourke said his focus would be “taking the fight to Donald Trump” and “being with those who have been denigrated and demeaned.”
But that approach also failed to catch fire, especially in a crowded Democratic field with a number of progressive candidates also speaking out on guns and racial inequality.
Latest polling Friday showed O’Rourke with support of just 1 percent among likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, the first major contest in the presidential primary season, according to the Times. He also hadn’t yet met the requirements to participate in the next primary debates this month and December.
“My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee,” O’Rourke tweeted.