CONWAY — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Sestak announced Sunday he’s closing his campaign. Two other Democrats, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and California Sen. Kamala Harris, exited the race on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
Sestak of Alexandria, Va., is a retired three-star Navy admiral who commanded an aircraft battle group in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was responsible for 30 U.S. and allied ships, 100 aircraft and 15,000 sailors. He served two terms in Congress representing Pennsylvania’s 7th District from 2007-11.
As part of his presidential campaign, Sestak, 67, walked 105 miles from the Vermont border to Portsmouth in eight days from Oct. 13-20.
In an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2015, he had walked 422 miles across Pennsylvania. He said he was inspired to do his walks by the book “To Kill A Mockingbird,” in which Atticus Finch explains to his young daughter, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”
Sestak entered the race June 23, which was much later than the rest of a crowded field that includes former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who drew about 100 people to Tuckerman’s Brewing Co. in Conway Village on the same day that Sestak sat down with the Sun for an interview at the Ossipee McDonald’s.
In an email sent Sunday, Sestak said: “Thank you for this priceless opportunity 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.
“I deeply appreciate the support so many of you offered — whether by volunteering, offering financial contributions or coming to our campaign events. I will miss the opportunities I had in experiencing America in such a wonderful way!”
Harris, a U.S. senator from California, announced Tuesday,: “It is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today. But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the people. All the people.”
Harris, who was a much higher-profile candidate than either Bullock or Sestak, made only a few visits to New Hampshire and none was in the Mount Washington Valley.
Bullock ended his campaign Monday, saying, “Today, I am suspending my campaign to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.
“While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates."