U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) ended his long-shot bid for the White House Monday after failing to gain momentum since jumping into the race in April.
“Today ends our presidential campaign,” Swalwell told reporters during brief remarks at a press conference at his campaign headquarters in Dublin, California. “But it is the beginning of an opportunity in Congress with a new perspective shaped by the lives that touched mine and our campaign’s in the last three months to bring that promise to all Americans.”
Speculation surrounding Swalwell’s potential exit from the Democratic primary surfaced after the candidate canceled campaign events in New Hampshire last week. While Swalwell qualified and participated in the first set of Democratic debates in June, the four-term congressman faced trouble qualifying for subsequent debates, when the threshold to participate gets higher.
Swalwell consistently polled in the bottom tier of candidates, failing to even register support in some polls. Swalwell also indicated poor fundraising numbers in his Monday press conference to reporters.
Swalwell has been a rising star in the House Democratic caucus mentored by current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and made gun control the centerpiece of his campaign with an aggressive agenda to peel back gun rights with sweeping regulations. At the Miami debates last month, Swalwell also stood out when he called on the older candidates in the race to “pass the torch,” using the old quote from Joe Biden to argue that the party ought to nominate a younger candidate.
As Swalwell leaves the race, billionaire Trump-critic Tom Steyer, another Californian who had previously ruled out a bid in January, is expected to enter, according to a report from The Atlantic.
Steyer, 62, has been a major Democratic donor in recent years and has earned national media attention as one of the leading voices calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. He started a non-profit organization with the sole purpose to advocate for the president’s impeachment, “Need to Impeach.”
Swalwell declined to say who he would endorse among those still in the race, saying he was “impressed” by the long list of candidates. “It’s a talented field,” Swalwell said.