Cory Booker could be the next Democrat to drop out of the race for the presidential nomination.
On Saturday morning, NBC reported that campaign manager Addisu Demissie wrote in a memo to staff: “Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward. The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race.”
Booker confirmed the report, tweeting: “It’s an unusual move for a campaign like ours to be this transparent, but there can be no courage without vulnerability. I want people to see where we are and understand that we have a pathway to victory, but I can’t walk it alone.”
The New Jersey senator said he needed “to raise $1.7m by 30 September to be in a position to build the organization we need to compete for the nomination – and we can do it – but if we don’t, we don’t see a legitimate long-term path forward”.
He insisted the release of the memo was not a “stunt” aimed at boosting fundraising.
“This is a real, unvarnished look under the hood of our campaign at a level of transparency unprecedented in presidential politics,” he wrote.
But despite working assiduously to place operatives, win endorsements and meet voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, key early voting states, he has not been able to keep pace with the leading group in the sprawling field.
Former vice-president Joe Biden, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders are the top three, clear in most polls of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and California senator Kamala Harris.
In the realclearpolitics.com average of polls, Booker also trails tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke.
NBC quoted Demissie as writing: “If our campaign is not in a financial position to grow, he’s not going to continue to consume resources and attention that can be used to focus on beating Donald Trump, which needs to be everyone’s first priority.
“Booker might not be in this race for much longer – the same is true for other important voices in the field.”
The Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar trails Booker, followed by Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard, billionaire Tom Steyer, former HUD secretary Julián Castro and Colorado senator Michael Bennet. Other candidates score even lower.
On Saturday, Booker and other Democrats were in Iowa for the Polk County Steak Fry.
“If you’re all in for me,” the senator tweeted, “I can’t thank you enough. But if you haven’t settled on a candidate [and] still think my voice belongs in this race, if you believe the Democratic field should include someone like me, I want you to understand the field may narrow [and] pay attention to this too.”