Cory Booker is ending his presidential campaign, he said in a video posted on Monday morning.
The announcement marks a disappointing end for Booker, the New Jersey senator, who rose to national prominence in the early 2010s as the crusading mayor of Newark and as an early supporter of President Barack Obama.
Despite his status as a longtime up-and-comer in Democratic politics, a strong organization, and a complete lack of scandal or even obvious errors, Booker’s campaign just never quite took off. He struggled to qualify for debates and did not qualify for December’s.
In late September, the campaign made a desperate play it called “radical transparency”: Officials announced that if Booker did not raise $1.7 million in the 10 days before the fundraising quarter ended, he would end his campaign. Booker subsequently raised the money and stayed in the race — but not, in the end, for long.
All year, Booker has centered his campaign around lifting up the American people and uniting voters in common purpose — a community-based message grounded in the faith-based civil rights tradition. Though he backed Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan as a senator in 2017, as a presidential candidate, Booker primarily argued in favor of big new gun control measures, continuing to change the criminal justice system, and legalizing marijuana. But his campaign primarily focused on Big Ideals. He’s critiqued candidates like Joe Biden on his handling of racial issues in past decades but without rancor — a delicate balance that left many Democrats liking Booker, but for whatever reason, few committing to his candidacy.
Still, this isn’t the end of Booker, even in this particular cycle — many consider him a potential vice presidential pick for the eventual nominee.