Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is dropping out of the presidential race, ending a candidacy that emphasizes Mr. Moulton's centrist politics and military service but has gained no traction with Democratic primary voters.
Mr. Moulton, 40, said in an interview that he had no immediate plans to endorse another candidate, but he warmly praised former Vice President, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Mr. Moulton planned to announce the end of his campaign in a formal speech before the Democratic National Committee on Friday.
Mr. Moulton said that most of the other Democratic candidates were thus in the process of being tested at this point, with only a few exceptions ̵
"I think it's a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, "Mr. Moulton said."
Mr. Moulton said he would run for re-election to the House, representing a coastal area to the north and east of Boston. Mr. Moulton was a presidential candidate, and he is likely to face a contested primary.
Mr. Moulton said he would relaunch his political action committee, Serve America, to promote issues related to veterans and the military. Those issues, he said, were not "getting the attention they deserve" in the presidential race.
With Mr. Moulton's departure, the sprawling Democratic field wants to shrink to 21 candidates.
He is the fourth Democrat to leave the presidential race this summer, following Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Representative Eric Swalwell of California. Mr Hickenlooper announced on Thursday that he would run for Senate, while Mr Inslee and Mr Swalwell are running for re-election to their current posts.
Mr Moulton campaigned on national security and promoting public service, and criticizing Mr. Trump for damaging the country's most vital alliances. In May, he said he was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, and called for new policies to attend to the mental health issues of soldiers and veterans. Stanley McChrystal, the retired general who led American forces in Afghanistan, endorsed Mr. Moulton's campaign.
But Mr. Moulton entered the race late, in a strategic choice he now concedes was a mistake. He announced his candidacy in late April, Mr. Biden became a candidate and overshadowed much of the rest of the Democratic field.
Mr. Moulton did not qualify for inclusion in any of
"Candidly, getting in the race," says Mr. Moulton. "It was a bigger handicap than I expected."
He mentioned Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a fellow moderate who has so far strained himself out of the debate, said that he had said that he would not be able to do so.
Mr. Trump wants to be harder to beat than most people think, "Mr. Moulton said.
He pointed to health care as an issue some Democrats were at risk of alienating voters. Voters, he said, was "on the side of strengthening Obamacare" rather than implementing a single-payer system.
Asked if that made him a Biden supporter, Mr. Moulton did not exactly say no.
"I ' Mr. Moulton said, adding, "Anybody in this race wants to be better than Donald Trump and I want enthusiastically support whoever the nominee is. "
First elected to the House in 2014, Mr. Moulton made a name for himself as an insurgent in and outside of the chamber. He won his seat by defeating incumbent Democrat, John F. Tierney, in a primary election, and played a rebellious role in the Democratic Caucus as a scathing critic of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Alienating Senior Lawmakers and Influential Democratic Women in the Process.  His appetite for rebellion said he would consider a 2020 primary challenge to Sen. Edward J. Markey, a fellow Democrat. Mr Moulton opted to go for president instead of this week's senate candidacy was off the table.
Mr. Representative Joseph Kennedy III
"I have not, honestly, been paying attention to that debate," Mr. Moulton said of the brewing rivalry, "but I'm the product of a primary." , I think primaries are healthy. "
Mr. Moulton, who said he had a father last fall, said he had no regrets about his late retirement, and said he had his baby daughter. "I could defeat Donald Trump."
For now, Mr. Moulton said, "She'll just see you around a lot more."