DUBLIN, Calif. - Rep. Eric Swalwell has become the first Democrat to drop out of the crowded 2020 presidential race.
Speculation around Swalwell’s exit began after he cancelled a visit to the first primary state of New Hampshire, instead scheduling a news conference Monday afternoon from his congressional district where he formally announced his decision to exit the race.
“Being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising and where we were in the polls,” Swalwell said during a news conference at a union hall in Dublin, Calif. “We have to be honest about our candidacy.”
“Today ends our presidential campaign, but it is the beginning of a new opportunity in Congress,” he added.
Swalwell did not endorse any other primary candidate, however, saying, "I’m really impressed right now with the field."
Before entering the race, Swalwell was known for his involvement with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The three-term California congressman made ending gun violence a top priority of his campaign. “I’m the only candidate calling for a mandatory national ban and buyback of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons,” Swalwell said on his campaign website.
The 38-year-old hoped to gain traction as a fresh new face from a younger generation, but trailed behind in the polls against other young candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 38, of South Bend, Ind., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, 46, of Texas.
Swalwell’s high point early on in the campaign came when he challenged former Vice President Joe Biden in the first democratic debate.
“I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said ‘it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of American.’ That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden,” Swalwell said.
“Joe Biden was right when he said when it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago. He’s still right today,” he added.
While Swalwell has ended his chance of taking the torch to the White House this time around, he will reportedly focus on getting re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.