WASHINGTON: Congressman Eric Swalwell became the first candidate to drop out of the Democratic Party race for the White House Monday, as debates and fundraising drive a narrowing of voter focus on the sprawling field.

The 38-year-old California representative never garnered more than one percent support in polls, according to Real Clear Politics — though he got a slight boost in the June 26-27 party debates when he suggested that frontrunner Joe Biden, the 76-year-old former vice president, “pass the torch” to a younger generation.

“Today ends our presidential campaign. But it is the beginning of an opportunity in Congress, with a new perspective shaped by the lives that have touched mine and our campaign throughout these last few months, to bring that promise of America to all Americans,” Swalwell said.

His withdrawal leaves more than 20 candidates still in the race to be the party’s choice to battle Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Biden continues to lead the race, but since the debates his share of support has sagged to 26 percent, down from 32 percent, according to Real Clear Politics.

Meanwhile California Senator Kamala Harris has surged into second, helped by her debate attack on Biden in a back-and-forth on racial discrimination. – AFP