Sen. Cory Booker drops out of the presidential race

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Sen. Cory Booker greets people overflowing into the hallway at the Center for Worker Justice. Saturday, Dec 7, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Sen. Cory Booker announced on Monday he’s dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

“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,” the New Jersey Democrat told his supporters in a message posted on Medium.

“So I’ve chosen to suspend my campaign now, take care of my wonderful staff, and give you time to consider the other strong choices in the field.”

Throughout the current campaign cycle, there have been stories predicting Booker was about to surge in the polls, but it never happened.

A Rhodes Scholar who moved to an impoverished, inner-city neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey and worked as a tenant’s rights attorney, Booker built a coalition among low-income residents and ran successfully for city council. He was later elected mayor of Newark, the largest city in the state. During his second term, he ran for the U.S. Senate in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of incumbent Frank Lautenberg. Booker won, and has served in the Senate since 2013.

In addition to his impressive resume, Booker was also one of the most compelling speakers in the 2020 campaign.

But none of this resulted in a winning campaign. Booker’s failure to move up in the polls meant he hasn’t qualified for recent Democratic candidate debates, which Booker has repeatedly said has a negative impact on his fundraising.

In September, the senator said he was on the verge of dropping out of the race because of poor fundraising. Other candidates encouraged people to donate to Booker, saying it was important to keep his voice in the campaign, and Booker made his fundraising goal at the end of that month.

Locally, Booker had received several significant endorsements. Mazahir Salih and Bruce Teague of the Iowa City Council, Dale Todd of the City Rapids City Council, Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter and Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers all backed the New Jersey senator.

Sen. Cory Booker talks with a young supporter at the Center for Worker Justice. Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Booker said on Monday that he plans to run for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2020, and will remain active in the presidential campaign.

“I will be doing everything in my power to elect the eventual Democratic nominee for president, whomever that may be, and to elect great Democrats to the Senate and up and down the ballot. 2020 is the most important election of our lifetimes — we have to beat Donald Trump … but beating Trump is the floor, not the ceiling,” he said.

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