Marianne Williamson suspended her campaign for president, she announced on Wednesday night.
The author and speaker placed a distant third during Tuesday night’s Nevada primary, earning just 3% of the tallied vote. President Joe Biden received 89%, and the option “none of these candidates” took 6%.
Williamson had continued her 2024 White House bid through the Nevada primary even as her campaign struggled with momentum and resources after the primary season got off to a chilly start for the candidate in New Hampshire. In the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation contest, she received about 4% of the vote behind Minnesota Rep. Dean Philips’ 20% and Biden’s 66% through a write-in campaign. Williamson did finish ahead of Phillips in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, however, placing above the challenger who has been considered Biden’s most noteworthy opponent.
On Feb. 26, 2023, Williamson became the first person to challenge the president for the Democratic nomination when she announced her 2024 presidential campaign.
Williamson — who had also run for president in 2020 — announced her bid at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Phillips and progressive commentator Cenk Uygur remain challengers of Biden in the primary race.
“The status quo, ladies and gentlemen and everyone else, will not disrupt itself,” Williamson said as she announced her candidacy. “It is our job to create a vision of justice and love that is so powerful that it will override the forces of hatred and injustice and fear.”
Williamson had invested significantly in New Hampshire as a state that might propel candidacy into the mainstream: she held over 200 events over 300 towns across the independent-minded early state that had selected Rep. Bernie Sanders, another progressive, as their presidential primary choice in both 2020 and 2016. Ahead of the contest, she had been in New Hampshire for 17 straight days, participating in over 85 events this month, according to her campaign.
In an interview with ABC News just days before the primary, Williamson indicated she did not have the resources to continue her White House bid if she didn’t get off the ground following the contest. Recent Federal Election Commission filings show that Williamson’s campaign ended 2023 with debts that exceed the amount of cash she has on hand by nearly $400,000.
“New Hampshire will decide,” Williamson said. “If my numbers are high enough and I have the money, I’ll be going on to the next state. If not, I will hold my head [high], proud of the messages that we gave and what this campaign stood for.”
In the days following New Hampshire, Williamson held a Zoom call with volunteers and supporters, in which she candidly laid out the state of her candidacy and took feedback from the group. Williamson’s supporters fervently countered her thinking and called for her to stay in the race, including one elderly supporter who said she was “maxed out” in donating to the candidate. The amount an individual can contribute to a candidate is $3,300 per election, according to the FEC.
“Now I’ve only supported you and no one else, and I’m one of those senior citizens living on less than $25,000 a year, and yet I’ve almost maxed out to you all this year,” the supporter said. “You’re gonna have to give me back some money if you flip. So don’t quit.”
Williamson ended the call ambiguously. “Sometimes in life, When you give something up, you let go, and things sort of recalibrate into some higher level of possibility,” she said.
But just a few days later, Williamson made a sharp pivot, committing to extend her bid through Nevada.
“When I came in at less than five percent in New Hampshire, it really felt like a fork in the road. There was a time when I thought we were going to make it 15%. And we had a good shot at it,” Williamson began in a video posted to social media, noting that her wealthy opponent, Phillips, had flooded the state with paid advertisements ahead of the primary, something she was not able to compete with.
Her change of heart came when she realized that it “wasn’t her” to cave to the political establishment and submit to Biden’s reelection, she said.
Williamson dismissed South Carolina as a state she would “have any chance” of performing well in, implying that Biden’s influence was far too connected in the state for her to break through. Rather, she said she would spend around 11 days mounting a near-total social media campaign particularly geared towards those in Nevada.
Williamson, 71, is a best-selling self-help author who was catapulted to fame when Oprah Winfrey endorsed the now-candidate’s work through her book club. Williamson founded Project Angel Food, which began as a program to deliver meals to homebound people with AIDS and later expanded to people battling any critical illness.
Her signature 2024 proposals were not unlike the platforms she ran on in 2020: an overhauled economic system with the institution of an economic Bill of Rights, the creation of a Department of Peace, a Department of Children and Youth, and a focus on housing, drug and crime policy reform, among other platforms.
She has also supported universal health care and has demanded a cease-fire in Gaza in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas war.
Before New Hampshire’s primary, Williamson had never actually competed in a Democratic nominating contest. She left the race ahead of Iowa in 2020, ultimately endorsing Sen. Sanders and later President Biden in the general election.