'It’s with a full heart that I share this news': Cory Booker drops out of 2020 race
WASHINGTON – Sen. Cory Booker, who built his presidential campaign around the message of rising together as a nation, is ending his bid for the White House.
The senator from New Jersey announced his decision in an email to supporters Monday, citing a lack of fundraising.
"Friend, it’s with a full heart that I share this news – I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president," he wrote in the email. "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."
"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 continued.
Booker, 50, officially jumped into the race on Feb. 1, 2019, almost exactly one year away from the Iowa caucuses. He has served as the junior senator from New Jersey since 2013, and before that was the mayor of Newark.
In his campaign announcement video, Booker touted his experience living and working in Newark, saying he’s “the only senator who goes home to a low-income, inner city community.” Booker was one of three African Americans running for president, including Sen. Kamala Harris – who has also dropped out – and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who jumped into the race late last year.
Booker's campaign has struggled with fundraising the past several months, and the senator considered ending his campaign last fall if he couldn't make a fundraising goal.
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In September, Booker's campaign manager published a memo speaking frankly about the status of the campaign's finances, saying the campaign needed to raise $1.7 million in 10 days.
"Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward," campaign manager Addisu Demissie wrote.
Booker didn't qualify for the December or January debates, after qualifying for all previous debates. His average national polling numbers were at 1.8%, according to Real Clear Politics.
In the 4th quarter of 2019, Booker raised $6.6 million, which was his largest fundraising haul to date. However, he still trailed many of his other Democratic opponents, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders who brought in a whopping $34 million and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who raised $24.7 million.
After his absence from last month's debate and the upcoming one, Booker was vocal about his concerns with diversity on the debate stage.
He said last month during an interview with MSNBC that he's "a little angry" that the debate in December was setting up to only include white candidates. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang ended up making it on stage, making him the only nonwhite candidate on stage. For Tuesday's debate in Iowa, there will be no candidates of color on stage.
"I have to say that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride, and it's a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it," Booker said previously.
Despite not making it to the last two debate stages, Booker was still well liked by many Iowans. However, he consistently polled in the lower single digits. He was at 3% with likely Democratic caucusgoers in the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll published Friday.
Booker in December said he believed the Democratic National Committee was favoring millionaires and billionaires in the field.
"The way this is shaping up, especially with the rules of the DNC, it is preferencing millionaires and billionaires and a lot of other things that don't ever translate into viability in Iowa," he said on MSNBC.
Contributing: Des Moines Register reporter Austin Cannon.