Eric Swalwell


Eric Swalwell is abandoning his presidential bid, becoming the first of 25 Democratic presidential hopefuls to exit the race.

Swalwell, 38, a California congressman known for his frequent cable television appearances, is due to hold an afternoon press conference to announce his decision, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He struggled to gain traction in a crowded Democratic primary field packed with senators, governors, and former vice president Joe Biden since announcing his candidacy in early April. He was eclipsed by other youthful candidates like Pete Buttigieg, 37, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Tulsi Gabbard, 38, a Hawaii congresswoman.

His most memorable campaign moment came in the first debate when he attacked Biden, 76, on age. “I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” Swalwell, the third-youngest Democratic presidential primary candidate, said. “That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden.”

A staple of CNN and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Swalwell is a frequent and trenchant critic of President Trump, recently calling for his impeachment.

Comment: No surprise. The vast majority of the Democratic hopefuls are running the ‘Orange Man Bad’ script.

Last week, Swalwell abruptly canceled a New Hampshire campaign swing that was scheduled for July 3 and 4.

He hinted in June that he would drop out of the presidential race to focus on his congressional reelection bid if support flagged. “I hope to be part of the field as it shrinks. If I don’t, I’m going to be realistic about my options,” Swalwell said.

Swalwell faces a primary challenger for his Northern California congressional seat: Aisha Wahab, a progressive Afghan-American and Hayward city council member.

Fundraising totals since Swalwell’s April launch are not yet public, but his campaign had not announced passing the Democratic National Committee’s 64,000 donor threshold to secure his spot in the second round of Democratic primary debates at the end of July.

He took the stage in the first round of June presidential primary debates through securing 1% support in three qualifying polls, but tie-breaking qualification procedures mean that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is likely to bump Swalwell from the July debates after securing more 1% qualifying polls following the first debates.

Swalwell seemed unlikely to make the October debates, which have much higher qualification thresholds of 130,000 donors plus 2% support in four polls.

His signature issue was his $ 15 billion plan to ban and buy back assault-style weapons. In a November 2018 tweet, Swalwell warned that “the government has nukes” if gun owners went to war against the U.S. over gun control.

In the Miami debate, Swalwell told Buttigieg that in the wake of a South Bend police officer shooting and killing a black man earlier in June, “if the camera wasn’t on and that was the policy, then you should fire the chief.”

The California congressman faced teasing online for some of his campaign rhetoric. “To my fellow candidates, I consider us all a part of being ‘The Avengers.’ The Republicans in 2016, that was ‘The Hunger Games,'” Swalwell said in June. Later in that speech, an applause line where he pledged to “be bold without the bull” was met with no applause.

A video posted to Twitter in June soliciting campaign donations showed Swalwell changing his daughter’s diaper. “If Eric can clean s#*% up at home … he can clean it up in Washington,” the video text read.

With one 2020 hopeful down, another is expected to enter the fray. Billionaire investor Tom Steyer is expected to announce a Democratic presidential bid on Tuesday after ruling out a run in January.

But on Monday, Swalwell’s departure from the race stirred taunts among some Republicans. The campaign account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took aim within moments of word that Swalwell was suspending his campaign.

“Good work, Swalwell,” tweeted the account of the Kentucky Republican.