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Cory Booker drops out of presidential race, cites 'urgent business of impeachment' as an obstacle

He has complained about DNC rules hindering diversity in the primary

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) ended his presidential campaign Monday after missing the past two primary debates and struggling to raise enough money to continue his long-shot bid at the Democratic nomination, according to NBC News.

Booker is the third primary candidate to drop out of the race this month. He was preceded by author Marianne Williamson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who went on to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

"It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I've always said I wouldn't continue if there was no longer a path to victory," Booker wrote in an email to supporters. "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 and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington."

The impending impeachment trial could keep the senators in the race off the campaign trail for an undetermined amount of time during a critical stage in the primary, which may work to the advantage of candidates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.

After failing to qualify for the December debate, Booker maintained that he still saw a way for him to win the nomination even without making the debate. However, it is difficult for a candidate whose support is that low to generate momentum nationally while being absent from that stage.

Booker polled at about 2 percent nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average

Booker has been critical of the Democratic National Committee's thresholds for debate qualification, which require candidates to meet escalating polling and fundraising standards to qualify. Booker said the thresholds have hindered minority candidates in particular.

"I don't doubt that the rules our party set were well-intentioned, but the outcomes are undeniable: These thresholds have effectively kept people of color from the national stage," Booker wrote in a fundraising email just days before dropping out.

Booker attempted to run a campaign that emphasized unity as the most effective way to defeat President Donald Trump, and he mostly avoided attacking other candidates. However, Booker's more cordial approach resulted in him failing to garner as much attention as some of his competitors, and failing to differentiate himself to establish why he should be the nominee above anyone else.

After the first debates featured two nights and nearly two dozen candidates, Tuesday's Democratic primary debate in Iowa will feature six candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, businessman Tom Steyer, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.).

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