Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, a former Navy admiral who made history in 2006 as the highest-ranked military officer elected to Congress, announced on Sunday that he was dropping out of the presidential race.
Mr. Sestak, a Democrat, had promoted himself as a candidate with the “global experience” needed to “restore America’s leadership in the world,” with a message focused on the economy and rural communities. Among the centerpieces of his platform were a job training guarantee for employees displaced by technological advances and outsourcing, and a system of public hospitals in underserved areas.
But his campaign began late and never got off the ground. He raised less than $500,000, and his polling average in the Democratic primary was 0 percent.
“Thank you for this priceless opportunity as I end our campaign together,” Mr. Sestak said in a statement. “Without the privilege of national press, it is unfair to ask others to husband their resolve and to sacrifice resources any longer.”
Mr. Sestak, 67, who served two terms in the House before losing a bid for the Senate in 2010, entered the presidential race in June, far later than most other candidates. He said he had delayed his entry while his daughter received treatment for brain cancer.
But without national name recognition or billions of dollars in personal wealth, Mr. Sestak was unable to make even small inroads in an impossibly saturated field: 24 candidates when he entered.
In October, he walked across New Hampshire — 105 miles in seven days, from Chesterfield to Portsmouth — to try to draw attention to his campaign. In earnest, almost plaintive email missives to supporters, he ticked off the miles, described the scenery and asked for donations.
“The rain is pouring, and the wind is blowing, but I’m still walking across New Hampshire,” he wrote on Oct. 16 under a subject line that began, “Walking in your shoes — in a nor’easter.”
“I have walked 12 miles so far today — but I’ve got another 6 miles to go, and am just coming up to Purgatory Falls Road,” he wrote. “Will you donate to ensure that as I walk in New Hampshirites’ shoes across the Granite State, I can keep my ads on the air in the Granite State?”
It was a tactic he had tried before, in 2015, when he walked across Pennsylvania to open a second campaign for the Senate.
It did not work then either.
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