Democrat Beto O’Rourke has withdrawn his bid to become the next US president.
The 47-year-old thanked his supporters and wrote in a blog “it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully”.
Considered a media darling, Mr O’Rourke was seen as the breakout star of the midterm elections when he almost defeated Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz in the traditionally GOP seat – falling just 3% short.
While explaining his decision to step back from the 2020 race, Mr O’Rourke urged supporters to “unify around a nominee”.
He continued: “I decided to run for president because I believed that I could help bring a divided country together in common cause to confront the greatest set of challenges we’ve ever faced.
“I also knew that the most fundamental of them is fear – the fear that Donald Trump wants us to feel about one another”.
The former Texas congressman went on accuse the president of “white supremacy” and said Mr Trump “encouraged” violence “against communities that don’t look like, pray like or love like the majority in this country”.
Responding to Mr O’Rourke’s announcement, Mr Trump mocked his would-be rival.
He said: “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!”
Mr O’Rourke was expected to address crowds later on Friday at an event in Iowa.
During his midterms campaign, the Democrat raised large sums of money from small donors across the country and proved popular on social media but failed to replicate this support during his campaign.
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