Washington (AFP) – Citing a lack of funds, US Senator Cory Booker dropped out of the Democratic presidential nomination race Monday, a move that leaves a less diverse field vying to face Donald Trump in November’s election.
“It’s with a full heart that I share this news,” Booker said in a statement on the eve of the last Democratic debate before Iowa kicks off the nomination voting on February 3.
“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,” Booker said.
The New Jersey senator said his role as a juror in the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump would further cramp his fundraising abilities, “because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington.”
Perhaps more than any candidate, the 50-year-old Booker, a skilled orator with a million-watt smile, had channeled unity, hope and optimism on the campaign trail.
“I believed to my core that the answer to the common pain Americans are feeling right now, the answer to Donald Trump’s hatred and division, is to reignite our spirit of common purpose to take on our biggest challenges and build a more just and fair country for everyone,” he said.
Early on, the crowded Democratic field was praised for being the most diverse in history.
But the departure of Senator Kamala Harris, who dropped out in December, and now Booker leaves just one black candidate, Deval Patrick, among the dozen remaining Democratic hopefuls.
But the former Massachusetts governor is barely registering in the polls.
– Moral clarity –
All six candidates in Tuesday’s debate are white: former vice president Joe Biden, senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
Candidate Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur of Taiwanese descent, and Tulsi Gabbard, who is Samoan-American, failed to qualify for Tuesday’s debate stage.