“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.
The campaign of the two-term governor, who is also former state attorney general, got a late start, as Bullock only announced his candidacy in May, trailing along dozens of other Democratic candidates vying for the nomination. He tried to make the case that he was the best option to beat Trump because he was the only Democratic candidate to win in a state that Trump won in 2016.
Bullock struggled to raise money and register in the polls, managing to meet qualification thresholds for only one Democratic National Committee debate in July. He said he was running for president to win back places Democrats have lost and end the influence of “dark money” in politics — concerns, he said, that have not changed.
The governor said he is leaving the crowded 2020 race “filled with gratitude and optimism, inspired and energized by the good people I’ve had the privilege of meeting over the course of the campaign.”
Bullock is the third Western governor or former governor to drop out of the 2020 race after struggling to build a national profile and donor base against well-known alternatives like former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out in August to run for the Senate. His departure was followed quickly by that of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is seeking reelection.
Bullock's spokesperson, Galia Slayen, said Monday that Bullock "plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020 [but] 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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.