Rep. Swalwell Is First Democrat to Drop Out of 2020 Presidential Race

July 8, 2019 Updated: July 8, 2019

Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose presidential campaign struggled to gain traction amid a sea of Democrat candidates, has dropped out of the 2020 race.

The California Democrat announced July 8 that he’s ending his bid.

“I told my wife and our staff and our constituents and our supporters that we’re only running for one reason—to win and make a difference,” Swalwell told NBC News, adding that “being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising” as well as polling.

“I want to 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,” he wrote on Twitter, highlighting that he wanted to deal with gun violence in the United States.

second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign
Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) author and writer Marianne Williamson, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, attorney and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Eric Swalwell participate in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami on June 27, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The end of Swalwell’s campaign suggests that the window for many Democrats in their bids for the presidency is closing.

“Some may be hanging on to the hope that if they can just get past the summer doldrums, they can catch voters when they start tuning in, come fall,” said Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida, USA Today reported. “But after that, it becomes much, much more difficult especially for some of these candidates who will be facing pressure from party leaders to drop out and get into the Senate race.”

According to an aggregation of polls from RealClearPolitics, it appears that former Vice President Joe Biden is leading, despite a strong performance from California Sen. Kamala Harris during the first debate. An ABC News poll on July 3 shows Biden at 30 percent, Harris at 13 percent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13 percent, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent.

Rep. Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference discussing new legislation on U.S. policy toward Russia on Capitol Hill in Washington, on April 5, 2017. Also pictured is Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Top-tier candidates, including Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have seen their poll numbers slip, while New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke have barely registered in the polls.

Swalwell had his biggest campaign moment two weeks ago when he attacked Biden during the first Democratic debate.

“I was 6 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 Americans.’ That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden,” Swalwell said, according to USA Today. “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.”

Swalwell was one of the youngest candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, along with Buttigieg, 37, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), 38. The minimum age to serve as president is 35.

Reuters contributed to this report.