Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race after coming up short of qualification requirements for Democratic debates and failing to collect significant support in the polls.
"While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering 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," Bullock said in a statement Monday.
The twice-elected governor and former attorney general of Montana was a latecomer to the Democratic field, announcing his bid in early May after more than 20 candidates had joined the fray.
Bullock was locked out of the first round of debates but qualified for the second round where he made what was considered a strong debut.
Still, he was unable to muster much support among Democratic voters, barely cracking 1% in most national polls.
According to Federal Election Committee data, he raised about $2.3 million in the third quarter of 2019, near the bottom of the pack.
Bullock had largely ignored pleas from fellow Democrats to run for the Senate instead of entering the presidential race, and his campaign confirmed that he would not run on Monday.
"Governor Bullock will continue to faithfully and effectively serve the people of Montana as their Governor," said Galia Slayen, Bullock Campaign communications director.
"While he plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020, it will be in his capacity as a Governor and a senior voice in the Democratic Party — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate."
Bullock ran as a centrist who managed to win Montana — a state that President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points. He presented himself as a solution to the partisan gridlock that has crippled Congress, referring to his seven years working with a Republican legislature.
He focused his campaign on fighting against "dark money" — political spending by nonprofit organizations or so-called super PACs that are not required to disclose their donors.
He opposed progressive platforms like "Medicare for All" and abolishing the death penalty, which he said could be used in select cases. But he notably changed his position over the years to support a ban on semi-automatic weapons. His nephew was killed in a school shooting in the 1990s.
Bullock's announcement came a day after Joe Sestak, a retired vice admiral and former congressman from Pennsylvania, dropped out of the Democratic race.