The 2020 Democratic field is starting to winnow.
Three months since he entered the historically large primary ring, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) announced Monday that he will bring his long-shot campaign to an end.
“Today ends our presidential campaign, but it is the beginning of an opportunity in Congress, with a new perspective shaped by the lives that have touched mine and our campaign throughout these last three months, to bring that promise of America to all Americans,” he said at a press conference at his campaign headquarters. Swalwell acknowledged that he wasn’t as viable as some of his opponents, adding that he only raised about $850,000 this past quarter.
Swalwell, the 38-year-old member of the House Intelligence Committee, focused his presidential bid on confronting gun violence but failed to gain any traction. He languished at the bottom of the pack in polling and—prior to dropping out—ran the risk of missing out on qualifying for the next debate.
Prior to his Monday announcement, Swalwell scrapped a planned trip to New Hampshire last week—a signal that things were not going as planned.
The congressman attempted to steal the spotlight during the first presidential debate in Miami late last month by saying that former Vice President Joe Biden “was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago; he is still right today.”
Biden quickly dispatched him with a quip that he was “still holding on to that torch.”
In February, the California Democrat said he would give up his seat to run for president but more recently he had told The Washington Post that he would think about running for re-election if he missed out on future debates with higher prerequisites for qualification.
Swalwell now faces the prospect of a primary challenger in California’s 15th congressional district from city councilor Aisha Wahab, a 31-year-old progressive who was the first Afghan-American elected to office in the country. She announced her intention to run when the expectation was that Swalwell would not seek re-election. “I’m definitely going to reassess it,” she told the Post in June about the prospect of the incumbent returning to defend his seat.
Though he is the first candidate from the debates to exit, Swalwell is not the first candidate overall to cut the cord this cycle, nor will he be the last. In January, former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda abandoned his short-lived bid.
Another California Democrat could quickly take Swalwell’s place in the 2020 field, however. Multiple reports indicated on Sunday that liberal billionaire activist Tom Steyer was set to enter the presidential race possibly as soon as Tuesday. In January, he went to Iowa seemingly to announce his candidacy but called it off in favor of his impeachment efforts.
While there has been chatter from a number of sources that Steyer has had a change of heart since then, Heather Hargreaves, the executive director of his organization NextGen America told The Daily Beast “I have no comment at this time” when asked about his plans on Monday.