Huckabee, O'Malley Quit 2016 Race
After failing to gain traction in the first-in-the nation Iowa caucuses, two candidates dropped out of the presidential race Monday night – former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the GOP side and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side.
Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa GOP caucuses, staked his 2016 campaign on re-igniting the flames of his 2008 performance in the caucuses but couldn’t pick up speed. Huckabee registered just under 2 percent of the vote.
Huckabee announced his campaign’s suspension in a tweet, saying, “Thank you all for your loyal support.”
"He is going to continue to push for the issues he believes, but right now this is about thanking his staff and supporters and being with his friends and family and see what doors will open next," Hogan Gidley, Huckabee's spokesman, told CNN.
Gidley also told CNN Huckabee is "not even thinking about an endorsement at this time.”
Several other Republicans performed well below the top three finishers Monday night but promised to continue the race. Sen. Rand Paul, who came in fifth with 4.5 percent, tweeted, “We fight on!” The governors in the race – Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich – all registered below 3 percent, but have mostly staked their campaigns on the Feb. 9 New Hampshire Primary. Carly Fiorina, who came in just short of 2 percent, tweeted she was headed to New Hampshire.
Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2012 after a protracted count, came in at 1 percent, just above former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and “other.” His campaign announced the former senator is headed to South Carolina.
On the Democratic side, O’Malley, a two-term mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland who is much younger than his two opponents, made a generational argument for his campaign, looking to be the energetic alternative to Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner. But as Sen. Bernie Sanders surged, O’Malley failed to generate the same energy and consistently lagged behind his opponents in polls.
His struggles in the polls led to a fundraising problem for O’Malley, who accepted public financing for his campaign and took out a $500,000 loan in December to stay solvent, with some campaign staff working without pay, The Washington Post reported.
In his speech to supporters announcing the end of his campaign, O’Malley said he and his family decided “it would be an extreme poverty indeed if the Democratic Party only had two candidates to choose from.”
But now, after just one state voting, that’s exactly how the race will go forward.
O’Malley continued to tout some of the key issues he talked about during the campaign: increasing the minimum wage, overtime and equal pay, combating climate change, comprehensive immigration reform and gun control.
“The people have made their choice tonight,” O’Malley said. “It was hard to get over that threshold here and I know those numbers don’t reflect all the hard work that you did, but we have driven this debate, and tonight, I have to tell you that I am suspending this presidential bid, but I am not ending this fight.”