Cory Booker out of race for Democratic nomination

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US Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker has announced he is ending his campaign after disappointing poll numbers.

The New Jersey senator had failed to qualify for the Democratic debate on Tuesday in Iowa.

Mr Booker had been touted as a rising star of his party, but was unable to garner enough support in a crowded field.

There are now 12 remaining Democrats in the race for the White House.

“Today I’m suspending my campaign for president with the same spirit with which it began,” Mr Booker said in a video announcing the end of his campaign.

In an email to supporters he said: “I’m proud of the ideas we brought to this Democratic primary and, more importantly, the values we championed throughout – that the only way we make progress is by bringing people together – even when we were told that our approach couldn’t win.”

Mr Booker, 50, had focused his campaign on a message of “love and unity” to combat what he depicted as Mr Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

But his prescriptions for criminal justice reform, as well as reducing economic and racial inequality failed to resonate with voters.

The former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, had polled an average of 2% nationally, according to RealClearPolitics data.

Front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have been polling at 29% and 20% on average respectively.

Mr Booker was unable to match his competitors in fundraising. Politico reported he pulled in only $6m (£4.6m) in the final quarter of last year, far less than his top-tier rivals.

Last week, Mr Booker said the impending presidential impeachment trial could deal a “big, big blow” to his campaign as he would be off the trail for weeks.

On 9 January, he told the Associated Press: “If we can’t raise more money in this final stretch, we won’t be able to do the things that other campaigns with more money can do to show presence.”

Fellow Democratic contender Marianne Williamson quit the race at the weekend, while Julian Castro, who was the only Latino in the field, dropped out of the race earlier this month.

Mr Booker, who launched his campaign on the first day of Black History Month in February last year, had recently complained about the lack of diversity in the Democratic presidential field.

Most of the remaining Democratic candidates are male and white, which is provoking criticism for a party that prides itself on multiculturalism.

Six Democratic White House hopefuls will take to the stage for a televised debate on Tuesday in Iowa. All are white; two are women.

Of the remaining contenders, only Andrew Yang, Deval Patrick and Tulsi Gabbard are not white.

The Washington Post recently ran a column saying that the Democrats “are starting to look like a ‘Whites only’ party”.

President Donald Trump weighed in soon after Mr Booker’s announcement, saying: “I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!”

Mr Booker’s 2020 rivals have also responded to his exit.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said she would miss him on the campaign trail, and Mr Biden said he had campaigned with “joy and heart”.

Mr Yang, calling Mr Booker a friend and brother, said “the fight continues”.

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