Beto O’Rourke Drops Out of 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Race

FILE- In this May 6, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke listens to a speaker during a roundtable discussion on climate change in Des Moines, Iowa. O’Rourke says he’s hired 37 staffers to help with organizing in Iowa, boosting his presence in the state that kicks off presidential primary voting to 44. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will end his campaign for the presidency, The New York Times is reporting.

“My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee,” O’Rourke told The Times.

The ex-congressman was launched on to the national stage three years ago when he staged a competitive challenge to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas — a state that has long been firmly held in GOP hands. His near-miss in that campaign had many Texans and national Democrats speculating as to whether he would make a second run at the upper house of Congress, but the El Paso-based O’Rourke instead mounted a presidential campaign.

Despite early attention, O’Rourke was not able to capitalize on the buzz and instead gradually fell in the polls.

He repeatedly cleared the threshold to appear on the televised debate stages but was unable to capitalize on that politically. The former congressman’s most prominent moments on the national stage came in the wake of a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

President Donald Trump responded to the news with a mocking tweet, “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!”

In a Friday post on Medium, Beto confirmed he was dropping out and thanked his supporters. He cited financial strain as a reason for bowing out of the crowded (but narrowing) 2020 field.

“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” he wrote. “My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”

He declined to endorse a specific Democratic 2020 candidate, but instead said he would support whoever wins the nomination.

“We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020,” he wrote. “I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is. And proud to call them President in January 2021, because they will win.”

SOURCE: Business Insider – Walt Hickey