Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), whose White House candidacy has polled at an embarrassing 0% in multiple national public surveys, became the first Democrat presidential hopeful to pull the plug on his 2020 campaign.
“Today ends our campaign,” Rep. Eric Swalwell says at an afternoon presser in California. Exactly three months to after he launched his campaign back in April. pic.twitter.com/qrQK3QTZok
— Ryan Brooks (@ByRyanBrooks) July 8, 2019
“Being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising, where we were in the polls,” Swalwell said at his campaign headquarters, before claiming that he “moved the needle on the debate stage with an issue I was very passionate about.”
“So we’ve achieved that,’” he said in reference to gun control measures. “But we have to be honest about our own candidacy’s viability.”
I want thank my supporters & friends, my staff, & my family for making this journey possible. I’ll never forget the people I met & lessons I learned while traveling around our great nation. Though our campaign is ending our mission to end gun violence is just beginning… pic.twitter.com/voEJRpYd2R
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) July 8, 2019
Swalwell’s pro-gun control platform failed to gain traction, despite several aggressive policy promises, including a ban on AR-15s. The California Democrat’s repeated attacks on the National Rifle Association (NRA), though cheered by gun control activists, did little to boost his lagging candidacy.
“On the issue of gun violence, I am the champion who is saying enough is enough, and that has to be a top priority. We can’t just respond to the last mass shooting. I want to challenge our candidates to make it a priority too,” Swalwell told The Hill in an interview last month.
Throughout the course of his short-lived campaign, the congressman also attempted to position himself as a young alternative to ex-Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), urging the former to “pass the torch” during the first round of Democrat debates in Miami, Flordia.
“If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch. If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch. If we want to end gun violence and solve student debt, pass the torch,” said Swalwell to a collective gasp from the audience.
A defiant Biden hit back at the lawmaker, declaring: “I’m holding onto that torch. I want to make it clear.”
Swalwell will run for re-election for his congressional seat in the 15th District of California but faces a potentially fierce primary fight from Hayward councilmember Aisha Wahab.
The lawmaker’s departure from the race comes amid reports that left-wing billionaire and climate change crusader Tom Steyer is readying a campaign of his own.