New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker ended his presidential campaign Monday after failing to qualify for Tuesday’s presidential debate due to low polling numbers.
“It’s with a full heart that I share this news – I’m suspending my campaign for president,” Booker said in a statement on Twitter. “To my team, supporters, and everyone who gave me a shot – thank you. I am so proud of what we built, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can accomplish together.”
It’s with a full heart that I share this news—I’m suspending my campaign for president.
To my team, supporters, and everyone who gave me a shot—thank you. I am so proud of what we built, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can accomplish together. pic.twitter.com/Fxvc549vlJ
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 13, 2020
Booker, 50, for years has been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party throughout his time in the Senate, first elected in a 2013 special election. Since jumping into the crowded Democratic presidential primary however, Booker has lagged behind in the polls and failed to qualify for a podium on stage in the December debate before missing the polling threshold for Tuesday.
The New Jersey senator and former mayor of Newark made criminal justice reform a signature issue of his campaign, criticizing former vice president and presidential frontrunner Joe Biden for remaining opposed to marijuana legalization.
“I thought you might have been high when you said it,” Booker chastised during the November debate, Booker’s last primetime event on stage with his Democratic rivals.
Earlier in the campaign, Booker characterized Biden as the “architect of mass incarceration” for playing a key role in crafting the 1994 crime bill as the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.
Biden shot back, arguing most individuals in prison are serving time for state and local times, and pivoting to Booker’s tough-on-crime record as Newark mayor.
“At his inauguration as Mayor of Newark in 2006, Booker promised a zero tolerance policy for minor infractions,” the Biden campaign said in a statement, “which is exactly the kind of policy that enmeshed many undeserving people in a criminal justice system that cast a huge shadow over their subsequent lives.”
Booker was transparent about his campaign struggles throughout the final months of his candidacy, making desperate pleas to supporters for campaign cash to keep his presidential ambitions alive. In September, Booker declared he would drop out of the race if his campaign failed to raise $1.7 million in a 10-day time span.
Booker’s exit leaves 12 major candidates competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Self-help author Marianne Williamson dropped out Friday.
The Iowa caucuses are exactly three weeks from today.