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Steve Bullock ends his 2020 presidential bid

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Attend AARP Candidate Forums In Iowa
Democratic presidential hopeful Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 20, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Getty

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced Monday that he is ending his presidential bid. A late entrant into a crowded field of Democrats, Bullock's struggles began as soon as he entered the race.

"Today, I am suspending my campaign to become the Democratic Party's nominee for President." Bullock said in a statement released by his campaign. "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, the only candidate to carry a state won by President Donald Trump in 2016, made the issue of keeping Dark Money out of the political system a central fight for his campaign. In the campaign's statement he said it was the issue that "propelled" him to enter the race.

Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, was of great importance to Bullock's campaign. Since entering the race, Bullock spent a total of 32 days and held 91 events in the Hawkeye State. His campaign placed high hopes early in the summer on some key endorsements including Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller and the longtime former Story County Democratic chair Jan Bauer, a major name in Iowa caucus politics. A November poll from the Des Moines Register had Bullock with an estimated 0% of support from likely 2020 Democratic caucus goers.

Steve Bullock: I'm tired of lowering the flags 07:58

A vocal critic of the thresholds put forward by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Bullock failed to qualify for all but one of the Democratic Presidential Debates over the summer.

Bullock joins a long list of current and former governors who have failed to gain traction in recent presidential election cycles. Currently, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is the only candidate with gubernatorial experience left running for the Democratic nomination.

During his first interview after announcing in May, Bullock told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe that the president was not a good role model, saying: "When we're expecting more from our preschoolers at times than a president, that's not the role model that I think most families want for their kids."

His campaign put a damper on any hopes of Bullock using his popularity in Montana for a senate run.

"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 was not the only Democrat to exit the race during the first two days of December. Former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak ended his presidential bid Sunday.

Ed O'Keefe Adam Brewster and Musadiq Bidar contributed to this report.

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