FILE - U.S. Sen Cory Booker, D-New Jersey

U.S. Sen Cory Booker, D-New Jersey

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New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker became the third Democratic presidential hopeful in as many weeks to drop out of the race Monday, announcing he was suspending his campaign.

“It is with a full heart that I share this news – I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president,” he said in a note to supporters.

Booker’s announcement comes exactly three weeks before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro dropped out of the race two weeks ago and author Marianne Williamson did the same last week. Williamson had laid off her entire campaign staff the same day Castro made his announcement, but waited a week to end her candidacy.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory,” Booker said.

Booker failed to qualify for Tuesday night’s Democratic National Committee debate in Iowa. His campaign previously said it had met the standard of having at least 225,000 unique donors, but he did not meet the polling numbers necessary to make the stage.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer are the only candidates who qualified for the debate.

At one time, there were nearly 30 people seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Booker’s announcement means there are now 12 left, with businessman Andrew Yang and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick being the only candidates of color.

Booker served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, for seven years before being elected to the Senate in 2012. Once called the “rock star mayor” by Oprah Winfrey, he was re-elected to the Senate in 2018.

His decision was met with sarcasm from President Donald Trump, who tweeted “Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out of the Democratic Presidential Primary Race. Now I can rest easy tonight. I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him.”

Booker was among the first candidates to unveil a gun control plan, called for the federal decriminalization of marijuana and proposed a government-funded savings account of $1,000 for every child born in the United States.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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