WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California is ending his presidential bid, becoming the first candidate in the crowded 2020 Democratic primary to exit the campaign.
Swalwell announced his decision Monday.
He had signaled that he would consider bowing out of the presidential race if he was in danger of missing the cutoff for the next nationally televised Democratic debate, which is based on separate polling and donor qualifications.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock missed the threshold for last month’s debate but was ahead of Swalwell in the competition for this month’s televised Democratic faceoff before the four-term California congressman exited the primary.
If Swalwell seeks another term in Congress, he already has a challenger ahead of next year’s election in his liberal-leaning district: Democrat Aisha Wahab, a city councilwoman in Hayward.
He becomes the second announced candidate to formally exit the race, following former Democratic West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda’s brief foray into the presidential contest earlier this year.
Swalwell, who had built up somewhat of a national profile through his positions on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees and sought to focus his campaign on gun control, never saw his White House bid take off as he barely registered in polling.
During the first debate, Swalwell took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden and other older Democratic candidates, as he said they needed to “pass the torch” to a new generation of leadership. Swalwell is 38.