NEWARK, NJ — Nearly a year after putting his hat in the ring, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, announced today he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.

“I’ve said throughout this race that this election is not just a referendum on Donald Trump. It’s a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other. And over the past year, I’ve seen the very best of who we can be.

“To my team, supporters, and everyone who gave me a shot—thank you. I am so proud of what we built, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can accomplish together," Booker posted on his Facebook page.

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Booker, who served as Newark's mayor from 2006-2013, was elected to the Senate by special election after the death of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2013 and was re-elected to the Senate the following year. 

Modia Butler, Booker's state director, said that "although we are disappointed that we had to suspend our campaign, we remain committed to bringing people together to re-elect a Democrat to the White House."

Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, who was a strong supporter of Booker's presidential bid, praised Booker for running a campaign that was built on a foundation of love and unity.

"From the start, Sen. Booker aimed to elevate the marginalized voices in the fight for justice and equality," Ruiz said. "His optimism, compassion and conviction will be missed in the Democratic Primary. It was an honor and a special privilege to be on the trail with him and the Cory 2020 team. New Jersey is lucky to have him.”

Essex County Executive Jospehy Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., another supporter, said he was disappointed that Booker had ended his presidential campaign.

"The country’s loss is New Jersey’s gain. Just as I supported him to be Commander in Chief, I support him to continue representing us in the U.S. Senate," DiVincenzo said. "Cory distinguished himself throughout his political career and I believe he would have done the same for our country. A charismatic leader, thoughtful statesman and tireless advocate, this is not the last time we will see Cory on the national stage. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to continue working with him.”

Booker joined the presidential race on Feb. 1, 2019, with a message of unity and love that failed to resonate with voters. His campaign was never able to bring in the money needed for such a national campaign. 

Throughout his campaign, Booker's polling numbers were never strong and recently hit single digits. He leaves the campaign just three weeks prior to the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses, the first nominating contest in the Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2020 presidential election.

There are 12 Democrats left vying for the nomination to then take one President Donald Trump in November.

Booker's Senate seat is up this year, and he intends to run for reelection.