Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton told The New York Times Friday that he is no longer seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Moulton, a 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who built a minor presence in the House of Representatives by opposing Nancy Pelosi’s speakership, failed to qualify for any previous debates and had no chance of qualifying for the September debate.
Moulton told The Times he has no immediate plans to endorse another candidate but praised former Vice President Joe Biden.
Moulton said he will instead run for re-election in his coastal Massachusetts district, though he will now face a contested primary after several Democrats jumped into the race while Moulton was struggling to build any momentum in his short-lived presidential bid.
Moulton is the fourth Democrat to leave the race since the debates kicked off, joining Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and California Rep. Eric Swalwell.
What did Seth Moulton want?
“A combat veteran who served in the Iraq War, Mr. Moulton campaigned on themes of strengthening national defense and promoting public service, and criticizing Mr. Trump for damaging the country’s most vital alliances,” The Times reported. “In May, he revealed that he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from war, and called for new policies to attend to the mental health issues of soldiers and veterans.”
“He pointed to health care as an issue where some Democrats were at risk of alienating voters with calls to eliminate private insurance. Voters, he said, were ‘on the side of strengthening Obamacare’ rather than implementing a single-payer system,” The Times added.
Moulton believes primary is a 3-way race:
Moulton, who did not jump into the race until April, admitted it was a mistake to wait so long.
“Candidly, getting in the race late was a mistake,” Moulton told The Times. “It was a bigger handicap than I expected.”
Moulton said he believes the race is between just three of the 21 candidates still remaining.
“I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go,” he said.
“I’ve always said that veering too far left could result in us losing this election, and that Trump will be harder to beat than most people think,” he added.