Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack became the first announced candidate to drop out of the 2008 race today:
DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrat Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who built a centrist image, abandoned his bid for the presidency after struggling against better-known, better-financed rivals.
“It is money and only money that is the reason we are leaving today,” Vilsack told reporters at a news conference, later adding, “We have a debt we’re going to have to work our way through.”
Vilsack, 55, left office in January and traveled to early voting states, but he attracted neither the attention nor the campaign cash of his top-tier rivals _ Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards.
In the most recent financial documents, Vilsack reported raising more than $1.1 million in the last seven weeks of 2006 but only had around $396,000 in the bank. Some campaign finance experts contend candidates will need $20 million by June 2007 to remain viable.
“I came up against something for the first time in my life that hard work and effort couldn’t overcome,” he said. “I just couldn’t work any harder, couldn’t give it enough.”
Joining him at the news conference was his wife, Christie, and his two grown sons.
Vilsack’s withdrawal still leaves a crowded field of eight Democrats. He will remain an important figure in the presidential race as former rivals undoubtedly seek his endorsement and help to win Iowa.
Vilsack was never a serious contender so his departure from the race is unlikely to have a serious impact on the race.