Joe Sestak ends long-shot bid for president

Jason Lalljee

WASHINGTON — Joe Sestak, who was among the last Democrats to announce his run for president, has ended his bid.

"I deeply appreciate the support so many of you offered -- whether by volunteering, offering financial contributions or coming to our campaign events," Sestak wrote on Twitter Sunday evening.

Sestak, 67, represented Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms between 2007 and 2011. At the time of his election, he was the highest-ranking military official ever elected to Congress, as he is a retired three-star Navy vice admiral. He was also the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

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Sestak announced his bid for the presidency in late June, less than a week before the first round of presidential debates. He said his decision to delay the announcement was due to the relapse of his daughter’s brain cancer, which she first fought off at age 4. 

He announced his candidacy on a video released on his campaign website, in which he heavily referenced his military background. 

“I wore the cloth of the nation for over 31 years in peace and war,” he said in the video. “Our country desperately needs a president with a depth of global experience and an understanding of all the elements of our nation’s power, from our economy and our diplomacy to the power of our ideals and our military, including its limitations.” 

However, Sestak did not qualify for any of the Democratic debates, and failed to gain traction in polling or with donors. He was averaging less than 1 percent support in national polls, according to a rolling average of polls by RealClearPolitics

"It’s a marvelous fabric we Americans have woven together throughout the centuries. I know there is a tear in that fabric right now; but it can be repaired by someone who can lead, and therefore unite, all Americans," Sestak said in his announcement Sunday.