Former Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke—after failing to recapture the enthusiasm, interest and fundraising prowess of his 2018 Senate bid—announced Friday that he was ending his Democratic presidential campaign.
O’Rourke told supporters in Iowa that he “reluctantly” made the decision to drop out, but vowed to stay active in the fight to defeat President Donald Trump. “I will be part of this and so will you,” he said.
The latest campaign finance report revealed that O’Rourke spent $13,965,478 on his failed presidential bid, Opensecrets.org reported.
On Twitter O’Rourke announced the end of his campaign on by saying, “Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively.”
“In that spirit: I am announcing that my service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee.”
According to the NY Post, President Trump responded to O’Rourke’s exit during a Friday night rally in Tupelo, Mississippi, saying, “When Beto quit like … he quit like a dog. I said, ‘See people think this is easy, this isn’t easy.’”
“He was a nasty guy. He had a couple of policies that don’t work well in the state of Texas. He was against religion. He was against you having a gun, and he was against oil,” Trump added.
After raising a record $80 million during his narrow Senate loss against Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year, the 47-year-old was urged to run for President.
O’Rourke however, struggled to replicate such success during the presidential primary where his polling and fundraising dwindled significantly in recent months.
“We have to clearly see, at this point, that we did not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully and that my service will not be as a candidate, nor as a nominee of this party for the presidency,” said O’Rourke.
O’Rourke entered the race as a candidate who might appeal to both Republican and Democrat voters and be able to work across the partisan divide in Washington.
He was immediately faced with criticism however, regarding his sense of entitlement, particularly after the release of a Vanity Fair interview—on the eve of his campaign launch—in which he was quoted as saying that he was “born” to be in presidential politics.
After quickly pulling in $9.4 million during his first two weeks in the race, O’Rourke’s financial situation deteriorated. By the end of June, he was spending more than his campaign was taking in.
In addition, the small-dollar contributions that fueled his Senate bid and the early days of his presidential campaign slowed to $1.9 million.
O’Rourke’s decision came hours before he was supposed to join other Democratic contenders at a party dinner in Iowa. While he didn’t endorse any rivals for the nomination, he did say the country will be well served by any of the other candidates, “and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is.”
AP contributed to this report.