Williamson ends 2024 primary challenge to Biden

Marianne Williamson has ended her presidential primary bid Wednesday evening after failing to break single digits.

Williamson announced she was suspending her campaign in a video, starting off talking about a quote she read recently, “sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too.”

“And so today, even though it is time to suspend my campaign for the presidency, I do want to see the beauty,” Williamson continued.

A prolific writer and progressive Democrat, Williamson ran to the left of President Biden, hoping to convince voters that she could be a feasible choice for those dissatisfied with establishment party politics. In the end, she exited the race after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.

Williamson, 71, who also sought the White House in 2020, launched her bid against Biden last March, critiquing the Democratic Party’s ethos and pleading to fundamentally change operations in Washington. 

She tailored her criticisms around the Democratic National Committee, her long-standing target, which she argues is averse to running competitive primaries. She heavily criticized the national body’s decision to not hold primary debates this cycle, knocking the move as undemocratic and gaining some grassroots support from activists who agree with her assessment.

The DNC’s move in conjunction with Biden to shift the primary calendar to give South Carolina an earlier voting date than New Hampshire, which has voted first for decades, also upset Williamson and other primary challengers who targeted the Granite State early on. 

“The DNC acts like a hand forcing a lid over the will of the people. Smears, erasure, leaving anyone but Biden off ballots,” she told The Hill before votes were cast in any early primaries. “All manipulation to make sure their candidate is the only one considered. And we will lose,” she conceded.

She and other Biden rivals hoped that his lack of a presence on the state ballot would help her earn enough grassroots support to keep going to later contests. 

While Williamson previously told The Hill that her campaign had qualified for multiple state ballots, including California where she lived for years, she ultimately failed to amass enough on-the-ground support to continue on through the long and expensive primary calendar, where Biden is expected to lock up the nomination. 

Polls showed her consistently trailing the incumbent president, who has suffered from his own low approval ratings with voters in early voting states and nationally. Many voters have said throughout the presidential contest that they’re open to an alternative Democrat to lead the top of the party’s ticket, but no challenger was able to garner enough support with the base to catch on.

Critics have denounced her bid as not sophisticated enough to present a threat to the well-monied Biden operation, which had the support of the DNC. Some of those tactical deficiencies were exposed after Williamson faced regular structural changes, ultimately cycling through different campaign managers and other staff reorganizations. 

The donation webpage for Williamson’s campaign, where she posted the video announcing she would suspend her campaign, said that all donations “from this point forward” would go toward campaign debt retirement.

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