WASHINGTON — Joe Sestak, the former Pennsylvania congressman and retired Navy admiral who hoped to turn his military experience into an asset as a Democratic presidential candidate, said Sunday he was ending his bid for the party’s nomination.
In a statement posted on his Twitter site, Sestak offered his thanks to supporters “for the honor of running for president” as “I end our campaign together.”
“Without the privilege of national press, it is unfair to ask others to husband their resolve and to sacrifice resources any longer,” he wrote.
Sestak, 67, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who spent three decades in the Navy, served two terms in the House, 2007-2011. In joining the crowded field last June, Sestak called for strong action to deal with climate change, corporate accountability and China’s geopolitical threat.
Sestak made little impression with donors or other supporters and failed to qualify for any of the party-sponsored debates. He recently completed a walk across New Hampshire to drum up interest in his campaign.
The Democratic Party remained rankled over Sestak’s campaign in 2010 to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. While Sestak defeated Specter, a Republican turned Democrat, he lost to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He defied party leaders again in 2016 by seeking the nomination to challenge Toomey’s re-election, but lost the primary to the party’s preferred candidate.