Democrat Joe Sestak Has Ended His White House Bid

Joe Sestak speaks at a political event.
David Becker / Getty Images

Joe Sestak’s long shot White House bid has come to an end.

The former Pennsylvania congressman announced on Sunday that he would be dropping out of the Democratic primary with just a little over two months until the first ballots are cast. Sestak made the announcement on Twitter, thanking his supporters for the work they had done for him.

Sestak had failed to make an impression on voters, languishing at the bottom of polls since entering the race in late June. As the USA Today reported, Sestak’s late entry was due to a relapse in his daughter’s brain cancer.

Though he did not have the national recognition of many other candidates, Sestak tried to win over voters with his extensive military experience. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a three-star vice admiral, later becoming the highest-ranking military officer ever to be elected to Congress.

In trying to connect with Democratic voters, Sestak drew comparisons to Donald Trump and his lack of military and foreign policy experience.

“I wore the cloth of the nation for over 31 years in peace and war,” Sestak said in the announcement of his campaign. “Our country desperately needs a president with a depth of global experience and an understanding of all the elements of our nation’s power, from our economy and our diplomacy to the power of our ideals and our military, including its limitations.”

The message did little to move the needle with voters, and Sestak did not qualify for any of the Democratic debates. As the threshold for appearing in future debates continues to grow more difficult to reach, the prospect of Sestak gaining any national attention appeared to be fading fast.

After dropping out of the race, Sestak blamed a lack of media coverage for his failure to gain a foothold in the race. That has been a common refrain among candidates near the bottom of the polls.

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Sestak now joins a number of other candidates to leave the race ahead of the start of actual primaries. Other prominent candidates to leave the race include former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and California Congressman Eric Swalwell.

Because Sestak was polling so poorly, it is not clear if his leaving the race will have any noticeable change for other candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the frontrunner, and both he and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have been the most popular “second choice” for prospective Democratic voters, The Hill noted.