Democrat Cory Booker’s struggling White House bid doomed ‘without immediate fundraising surge’

Chris Riotta
Getty

Cory Booker needs some serious cash if he’s going to stay in the 2020 race for the White House.

That’s the latest assessment from the New Jersey senator’s presidential campaign, which reportedly said in a memo to staff “Booker might not be in this race for much longer” if they are unable to fundraise nearly $2m (£1.6m) in a matter of days.

Addisu Demissie, Mr Booker’s campaign manager, wrote in the memo obtained by NBC News: “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,” he added.

"I want to be clear: This isn't an end-of-quarter stunt or another one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press," the campaign manager wrote. “This is a real, unvarnished look under the hood of our operation at a level of transparency unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns."

The news came as Mr Booker was scheduled to join other prominent 2020 hopefuls at the Polk County Steak Fry on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Booker, who has polled consistently at about three per cent in national surveys, has struggled to contend with the mounting scale of rival campaigns and the prospect of higher thresholds for participating in future Democratic debates.

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But he isn’t alone: a vast pool of politicians, entrepreneurs and other influential voices threw their hat in the ring to take on Donald Trump. Those candidates who have not managed to gain the robust followings as some others will likely begin to drop out from the campaign trail in the days ahead, Mr Demissie noted in his memo — a possible development that he said would remove “important voices in the field”.

Other Democrats have already withdrawn from the race after failing to rise in the polls or make the Democratic National Committee’s debate stages, from Kirsten Gillibrand to Bill de Blasio.

“If our campaign is not in a financial position to grow,” Mr Demissie wrote, “[Mr Booker is] 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”.

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The campaign manager also noted there were just four candidates who had raised the “money necessary to build and sustain the national organisation needed to win”.

Those were interpreted to be Mr Biden, Mr Sanders, Ms Warren and Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana mayor whose campaign has seen record fundraising in the latest quarter.

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