Joe Sestak ends 2020 presidential bid

By Rishika Dugyala

Joe Sestak, a former Pennsylvania congressman and retired three-star Navy admiral, ended his presidential campaign Sunday with a social media announcement and email blast — dropping the crowded Democratic field to 17 candidates.

During his long-shot bid, Sestak struggled to gain name recognition, was left with zero percent support in most polling and had not qualified for any of the Democratic debates. He said in his statement on Sunday that without the “privilege of national press,” he could no longer ask people to sacrifice resources for his campaign.

Sestak also called for a leader that could unite the country.

“A moral compass for our great ship of state is the beacon most needed today,” he said. “That is necessary for us both at home and abroad, to convene the world to advance our policies and commitment to democratic values for our collective good.”

He portrayed himself as a supporter of working-class Americans and made his primary objectives facing the climate crisis and foreign threats. Sestak had joined the race in June, later than most of his 2020 rivals, after his daughter battled a relapse of brain cancer. This past month has brought two new Democratic contenders in former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Sestak, once the highest-ranking military official ever elected to Congress, served in the House from 2007 to 2011. He later made two failed bids for a Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2010 and 2016.