One day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Cory Booker’s campaign sent out an urgent fundraising plea hinting that he may not be far behind.
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The senator from New Jersey said Saturday said he may bow out if his campaign does not raise an additional $1.7 million by Sept. 30. A memo to his staff stated that -- without the cash infusion -- the campaign doesn't "see a legitimate long-term path forward."
"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," said campaign manager Addis Demissie, who authored the memo.
“The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race,” the memo stated. "This isn't an end-of-quarter stunt or another one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press.”
As bad as it may seem for Booker, his plight is not as serious as the one de Blasio found himself in. He was one of the 10 Democrats on the stage for the September 12 debate in Houston -- the mayor was not there -- and he has qualified for a spot in the next debate on October 15 in Columbus, Ohio, which de Blasio knew he would not make despite the bar being lower than for this month’s forum.
Despite clearing those significant hurdles and being in the top half of what is now a 19-person field, Booker has lagged behind his competitors in fundraising and in the polls.
"If we can't raise this $1.7 million,” the senator stated, “we're going to have to make the tough decisions that I think that any campaign that doesn't have a pathway to victory should make."
The most recent national poll, which Fox News conducted from Sept. 15-17, had Booker at 3 percent, well behind the three front-runners: former Vice President Joe Biden with 29 percent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 18, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent. National polls have consistently shown Biden in first, with Warren and Sanders trading the second and third spots.
Booker, along with all of his fellow Dems, was at Iowa’s Steak Fry on Saturday.
In New Hampshire polling, a Boston Herald/FPU poll taken Sept. 4-10 had Booker at 1 percent, while an Emerson poll from Sept. 6 to 9 had him at 4 percent.
Another key state, South Carolina, has not been polled as frequently, and the only one in September -- conducted by CBS, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 -- has him at 2 percent.
Booker has not fared much better in his home state of New Jersey, where a Monmouth poll taken from Sept. 12-16 has him at 9 percent, in a distant fourth place behind Biden (26), Warren (20), and Sanders (18).
Demassie also made clear that Booker’s campaign is not the only one in need of a boost and cautioned that the field “is about to narrow dramatically.”