In an early-morning announcement on Monday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock said he would be ending his 2020 presidential campaign after failing to make any clear impact in the race.
“Today, I am suspending my campaign to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president,” Bullock said per Reuters.
“While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates,” Bullock continued in a statement, the Associated Press reports.
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According to the report, Bullock failed to gain any momentum in the presidential campaign after failing to qualify for the first debate:
The governor said that he ran to win back places Democrats have lost and end the influence of “dark money” in politics. Those concerns have not changed, he said, but he leaves the race “filled with gratitude and optimism, inspired and energized by the good people I’ve had the privilege of meeting over the course of the campaign.”
The 53-year-old struggled to raise money and register in the polls, managing to meet qualification thresholds for only one Democratic National Committee debate in July.
He’s the third Western governor or former governor to drop out of the 2020 race after struggling to build a national profile and donor base against well-known alternatives like former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out in August to instead run for the Senate. His departure was followed quickly by that of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is seeking reelection.
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It was rumored that the two-term governor would end his presidential ambitions and would transition into a senatorial campaign for 2020 but Bullock denied that was his intention. Through a spokesperson, the governor said he would not be running for the Senate but looks forward to serving out his second term as governor.
“While he plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020, it will be in his capacity as a governor and a senior voice in the Democratic Party — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate,” said Galia Slayen, Bullock’s spokeswoman.
Bullock campaigned on trying to win back rural America for the Democrat Party, specifically targetting a core demographic that backed President Trump in 2016. The governor campaigned on a much more centralist platform than the Democratic frontrunners and claimed he would end foreign individuals from affecting elections.
Former Vice President Joe Biden leads in national polls, followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Real Clear Politics Average of polls shows.
The remaining candidates have struggled to raise money and win recognition and support.
On Sunday, former U.S. Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania dropped out of the race.
He joined more than six contenders who ceased campaigning this year: U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.