Booker seeks $1.7 million infusion to stay in Democratic White House race

 

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker will drop out of the running for his party's 2020 White House nomination unless he can raise $1.7 million over the next 10 days for his struggling campaign, his campaign said on Saturday.

The mounting scale of rival campaigns and the prospect of higher thresholds for participating in future Democratic debates have forced Booker's campaign to an "inflection point" where it must grow quickly or have no "legitimate long-term path forward," according to campaign manager Addisu Demissie.

"If we're not able to build the campaign organization, which means raise the money that we need to win the nomination, Cory's not going to continue running and consuming resources that are better used on focusing on beating Donald Trump," Demissie told reporters in a conference call.

The announcement came as the large, racially diverse Democratic presidential field shows signs of eroding, with fundraising largely dominated by four candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

Booker, a black U.S. senator from Newark, New Jersey, whose support in national opinion polls stands in the low single digits, needs to raise $1.7 million by the time the financial quarter ends on Sept. 30, according to a campaign memo sent to supporters and posted online on Saturday.

On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his 2020 presidential campaign, leaving 19 other Democrats including Booker to vie for the chance to take on Republican Trump.

Booker and his rival Democratic candidates were due to speak later on Saturday at the Polk County Democrats' annual Steak Fry in Iowa, which will hold its presidential caucus on Feb. 3.

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Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) listens to CIA Director Mike Pompeo respond to his question as Pompeo testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) answers questions at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Film Interactive Festival 2017 in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) waves after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) attends New York premiere "Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice" at Radio City Music Hall in New York, March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) nomination to be U.S. attorney general in Washington, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) addresses the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks during a news conference with fellow Democrats and unemployed Americans to highlight their political divide with Republicans over unemployment insurance legislation, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 16, 2014. Efforts to renew emergency federal jobless benefits for 1.5 million Americans stalled in the Senate on Tuesday when Democrats and Republicans rejected each other's proposals. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)
U.S. Senators' Cory Booker (D-NJ) (C), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John McCain (R-AZ) (lowerR) are pictured in the gallery prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) stands next to his mother Carolyn Booker (C) after U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden (R) ceremonially swore in Booker as the latest U.S. Senator in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 31, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats welcomed a new colleague to the U.S. Senate on Thursday, newly elected Booker, and the additional vote Booker gives them in the Senate. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker delivers a speech during his campaign's election night event in Newark, New Jersey, October 16, 2013. Democrat Booker, the charismatic mayor of Newark, was the unofficial winner of a New Jersey special election on Wednesday, handily defeating a conservative Republican to fill the state's vacant U.S. Senate seat. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker listens to U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaking to students during a visit to the Maple Avenue school in Newark, New Jersey, November 18, 2010. Michelle Obama was making the visit along with Booker to promote her "let's Move" initiative to reduce childhood obesity. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker (R) speaks to the media outside a burned house in Newark, New Jersey, April 13, 2012. Booker said on Friday he was no superhero, only a good neighbor when he broke free from his security detail to dash into a burning house and rescue a woman. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY)
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Demissie denied suggestions that Saturday's announcement was simply a campaign ploy to spur fundraising, telling reporters that the funds would be invested in campaign operations in October and November to better ensure success in next year's early voting states and Super Tuesday primaries.

Demissie dismissed Booker's weak poll numbers, predicting that the Democrat's efforts in early voting states would quickly change the dynamics once voters start casting ballots next year, if he could raise the funds necessary to stay in the race.

"The final field that is going to be offered to the Democratic Party come February, March and April and beyond, is being determined right now, here, in September," he said. (Reporting by David Morgan in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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