Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley suspended his bid for the Democratic nomination for president Monday night, he said at a rally in Iowa, amid low caucus numbers.
"I am suspending this presidential bid, but I am not ending this fight," he told supporters.
O'Malley spent more time in Iowa than any other candidate and remained the most accessible. He ran an energetic campaign, leading the field with the most bold progressive policy proposals, and he successfully pushed the other candidates on gun safety, immigration, and climate policy.
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O'Malley's decision to drop out of the race came even before a winner had been declared but as early results showed O'Malley garnering negligible support in the first primary contest, the Associated Press reported.
A veteran of Colorado Sen. Gary Hart's presidential campaigns in the 1980s, O'Malley sought to portray himself as a fresh face for a party searching for new ideas. He launched some of the toughest critiques of the race, accusing Clinton of being on "three sides" of the gun control debate and offering "weak tea" when it came to policing Wall Street.
But the ex-governor struggled to raise money and was mired in single-digit polls for months, despite an active operation in Iowa and New Hampshire. His campaign was forced to accept federal matching funds in the fall and he failed to become Clinton's chief alternative as Sanders tapped into the party's liberal base.
"We must hold strong for that third-grade kid who's only going to be in third grade once," he told his supporters Monday night.