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Two Democrats have dropped their bids for their party’s presidential nomination with the current field now down to 16 candidates, with just six of them currently qualifying for the next primary debate on Dec. 19.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said on Dec. 2 that he would suspend his campaign for president, saying in a blog post on Medium that his campaign was unable to break ground. He became the third governor to end his presidential campaign.
“While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering into this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates,” he wrote.
Bullock’s announcement came a day after former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania said he was dropping out via an email sent to supporters. In a statement on Twitter, Sestak said it was an honor running for president and said he deeply appreciated all the support he had received.
“Thank you for this priceless opportunity as I end our campaign together … I deeply appreciate the support so many of you offered whether by volunteering, offering financial contributions or coming to our campaign events,” Sestak wrote on Dec. 1.
Both Bullock and Sestak failed to gain traction throughout their campaigns and were unable to reach double digits in national polls. As of press time, a total of 12 candidates have ended their bids for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a tally.
Meanwhile, two newcomers announced in November that they would be running for the nomination: Deval Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, and Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul and former mayor of New York City.
The bid for the Democratic nomination has been fiercely competitive, with candidates all painting themselves as the person who can best unseat the sitting president. So far, aside from the top four candidates, contenders are struggling to raise money and break through in the race. At one point, the sprawling field of candidates peaked at 25 people.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is still leading the pack, according to an average of polling data aggregated by Real Clear Politics. Biden, according to the average of major polls, is at 27 percent support.
Trailing Biden is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at 16.6 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 15 percent. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounds out the top tier at 11.8 percent.
No other candidate is in double-digits; the highest polling single-digit candidate behind Buttigieg is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is at 4 percentage points.
There have never been so many contenders running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the current field of 16 candidates is the largest in modern U.S. history. The number of contenders could still increase even further.
President Donald Trump is the clear favorite to win the nomination for the Republican party but there are also two longshot contenders running against him: Joe Walsh, a former congressman from Illinois and a radio show host, and William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts and former federal prosecutor.
Trump officially launched his 2020 reelection bid on June 18, telling a crowd of supporters in Florida that the choice in the upcoming election is between the “radical socialism” embraced by the Democratic field and his agenda of freedom and the American dream.
During the rally, Trump celebrated the booming economy and cautioned that a vote for any Democrat would erase the progress made since 2017.
“America will never be a socialist country, ever,” the president added. “Republicans do not believe in socialism, we believe in freedom, and so do you.”