California congressman Eric Swalwell on Monday became the first Democrat to drop out of the party’s crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump for control of the White House next year.
Swalwell formally ended his 2020 presidential bid while addressing staff at his campaign headquarters in Dublin, Calif.
“We have to be honest about our own candidacy’s viability,” he said. “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.”
A four-term congressman, Swalwell will return to the federal legislature after failing to gain traction early on in the Democratic contest in which over two dozen candidates remain.
He focused his bid on the need for gun control reform and emphasized during the second night of Democratic debates that the party needs to see generational changeover, singling out former Vice President Joe Biden during a standout moment saying Biden, 76, should “pass the torch to a new generation of Americans”.
Swalwell announced his bid in April but never managed to rise above the dense field which features Democratic heavyweights including Biden, California Senator Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Biden, the far-and-away leading candidate, commended Swalwell for his campaign, saying the Democratic Party “is lucky to have leaders like Eric”.
“I look forward to continuing to work with him on the pressing issues facing Americans,” Biden wrote on Twitter.