U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell
Announcement of End of Campaign
IBEW 595 Union Hall
Dublin CA
July 8, 2019

[DEMOCRACY IN ACTION Transcript  |  C-SPAN Video]
Note: The reporters' questions below were' off-mic and are not rtranscribed below; Swalwell's answers are fully transcribed.

Good afternoon.  Welcome to the IBEW 595 Union Hall. This is a hall that I know quite well. When I was a teenager, I worked out of this hall on behalf of a local city council candidate, and for over the past 20 years have worked to support the work of this union and the work and campaigns of other candidates around here, so a very fitting and comfortable place for me and my family and my campaign team to work out of for our campaign.

We started about three months ago a presidential campaign believing that we must bring the promise of America to all Americans. The idea is that no matter who you are, who you love where you're from, what your parents did, your hard work should mean you do better for yourself and dream bigger for your kids. It was a promise I saw fulfilled for my parents as they raised me and my three brothers here in Dublin California. My dad was a cop; my mom worked a number of different jobs. And they believed that if they worked hard enough I could be the first in the family to go to college. And that was achieved for us.

But with my eyes open, going to college and law school and working as a prosecutor and serving as a city councilman in this community I saw all the people who did not have that promise fulfilled.

So I went to Congress.

In this past midterm election, I would come home for town halls and meet with my constituents,, and at almost every town hall with hundreds of people filling up gymnasiums and churches, I was told that the most important thing I could do as their congressman was to reverse the course our country was taking, go out and find new friends and reshape the Congress.

So for two years I went to 26 states, led an effort called Future 40 to find 40 candidates in their 40s and under, who could flip 40 seats. 28 of them won.

I also after being so demoralized, just like so many of you, by mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting in America was about to lose hope.

And then Parkland happened. And the communities of Parkland converged with communities in Sandy Hook and cities where we never hear the names and never know the stories like Chicago and Baltimore and Miami and Oakland, and they marched from the town squares to the town halls, to the ballot boxes. And they beat 18 NRA endorsed members of Congress.

We had momentum after the last midterm election. And I believe the best way to seize that momentum with a young diverse member— a young diverse caucus for the Democratic Party, and 18 fewer NRA members in Congress was to have a leader in the White House who could seize that momentum. That's why I chose to run for president. I was excited by what I saw across the country over the last three months, building on the work we did for the midterms in the last two years.

I told my wife and our staff and my constituents and our supporters, we were only running for one reason to win. And to make a difference.

Not a vanity project. Not to write a book. Not to make this about anything other than the people who really, really needed that promise to be fulfilled for them.

So being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising, where we were in the polls. And to prove we were serious, we qualified for the debates immediately, made the first cut, got on the debate stage, had a campaign operation with staff in Iowa New Hampshire South Carolina, New York, Washington and California.

And moved the needle on the debate stage on an issue that I was very passionate about, believing that every candidate should pledge that they would support a ban and buyback of the 15 million assault weapons in our country. And on the one opportunity I had to do that are three front runners, that were on the stage with me, Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders and Senator Harris, all three said that they supported that.

So we've achieved that. Communities across America who've been stricken by mass shootings now know that at least three of the front runners support this idea that these weapons of war do not belong in our community.

But we have to be honest about our own candidacy's viability.

You know, an American author.

Louis L'Amour wrote, in The Lonely Mountain, "There will be a time when you believe everything is over. That will be the beginning."
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 three months to bring that promise of America to all Americans, to believe that it will be the next generation whose leadership will solve climate chaos, bring cures in our lifetime for healthcare, address the student loan debt crisis, and make sure that we say enough is enough. We don't have to live this way any more, and that we love our children more than we love our guns.

I'm fired up to do that work that I've already been doing in the Congress, to go back to Washington on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and as the chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, to work on these issues, but to carry the stories of so many people I've met across America.

I also want to thank my wife Brittany, our kids, Nelson and Cricket. They were a lot of fun on the road. My wife was a hell of a surrogate for us. She was a mom [inaud.] a full time job, and put everything into her husband's campaign.

I also want to thank my parents, Eric and Vicki and my brothers, Josh, Jacob and Chase, as well as my staff, led by our campaign manager Lisa Tucker, as well as our supporters who made the small contributions, who knocked on the doors, made a text messages, believed in us every step along the way. Thank you.

I want to thank the media, because I see the media everywhere we go across the country, carrying your materials and your cameras and lugging it through airports and trying to catch me and ask the tough questions that we expect in a democracy. You're not the enemy of the American people; you uphold the promise of our Constitution, of free speech and a free press.

But I want to thank most importantly my constituents.

The only reason that a son of a cop who was the first in his family to go to college would believe that he could run for president and elevate the issue of gun violence is because I am around people who have the spirit of risk taking and learning from their failures and turning them in the successes.

I grew up in the Tri Valley, but it should be really called T-R-Y Valley, because that defines who we are. wWe try, we fail, we try, we fail, we try, we're the next major tech company. That's just in our DNA here. And a little bit of that is in your Congressman.

So I have no regrets. I'm excited about what we've done.

I think it's actually fitting that today ss we end this presidential campaign, over the last week I've been mentoring and helping a working 34 year old mother of two kids in the south, who is embarking today on what will be seen as a long shot campaign for Congress in the South.

But what I've really enjoyed the most about my work is working with and mentoring young people just like I had leaders work with and mentor me. So campaigns will begin across America in the next few months to reshape the House, the Senate, city councils and school boards, and I believe that if those campaigns are run on the issues of going big, being bold with the solutions and doing good in the way that we treat each other, we will see that promise of America fulfilled for all Americans.

And with that, I'd be happy to take any questions.

QUESTION: Congressman, do you know who you're going to endorse in this field?

SWALWELL: I don't know yet. I'm really impressed by this field. If Megan Rapinoe gets in the race I'm probably gonna endorse her; I think she turns 35 next July.


SWALWELL: Right. You know what, I'm really impressed with, you know, the field. I'm not gonna make any decisions right now. Look it's, it's a talented field, and that was one of the challenges I think for us was we had a lot of heavyweights in that field. It's going to take more twists and turns. I look forward now to you know being a citizen, watching the debates.

QUESTION: What are you looking for, as you look at the field...what are you looking for...

SWALWELL: I think these are issues of the future that we face, and we need ideas for the future. So: student debt affects 40 million us, myself included. Climate chaos, with 12 years before the effects are irreversible. Gun violence, because as parents we take our kids to school and we worry all day if we're going to get a call that something has happened. So these are issues that are are new, and I think it's going to take a next generation of leaders, and I really believe that the best matchup against Donald Trump is to have somebody who lives in the present, but never ever stops thinking about the future.

QUESTION: ...[inaud. on running for Congress...]



QUESTION: ...[inaud.]

SWALWELL: I'd said that I wouldn't seek both. Our attorneys have told us that you could run for both; that decision wouldn't have to come until December, and that if we were still in it in December, I wouldn't seek both. But you know the polls have had their way so here we are in July, and I'm excited, as I said, to continue this work.

I'm gonna leave here, I'm going to an immigration roundtable to address the border crisis, which affects our district with so many migrants and their families coming here. So yes, I'm excited to do that work and as I said it's not just running for reelection, it will be imminent issues like the work we have on the Judiciary Committee and Special Counsel Muellerr coming before Congress next week.

QUESTION: your biggest takeaway...

SWALWELL: Yeah, and you know, people really do trust you when they get those opportunities, face to face, they tell you things that they probably only tell their spouses, and they're really counting on you, and they still believe that this is a country, you know, of fairness and you know order and laws, and they're counting on it being that way. And so I don't want to let folks like that down. That's why I get so frustrated with the president as you see, you stand in the living rooms of hardworking Americans, you see how hard they've worked to buy their home; they're not asking to live a lavish life and be a member at Mar a Lago, but they just want to know that their prescription drugs aren't going to bankrupt them, and so they just want, they want you to be straight, they want honesty in their politicians and they want equal opportunity in our own lives.

QUESTION: But what about you personally? Was it a grind, was it fun?

SWALWELL: You know, it was fun. It was a lot of fun. It was fun to have my, my two year old and my eight month old out there with me and in some of these living rooms, you know, you walk in and they immediately jump up to take the kids. It's like they're measuring and weighing your kids, as much as they're measuring and weighing the candidates. You know my, if I have any regret, it's that my kids won't remember this at all. But, you know, I hope they're proud of, you know, why I ran and, you know, what it meant to other families who wanted a champion on gun safety.

QUESTION:...at one another is doing more damage?

SWALWELL: We need a candidate who's tested, I'll tell you that much, because Donald Trump is the best political puncher ever in American politics. So whoever we send to that debate stage with President Trump is going to have to be able to take a punch, throw a punch, and then unite the country at the end of the campaign. And that's going to be a very special person. And so I think this is okay, this is needed. I think weaknesses will be flushed out, and a leader will emerge.

QUESTION: ....message to some of your fellow candidates who are also polling at lower numbers...

SWALWELL: It's a person— it's really a personal decision you know. We, we looked at the upcoming debate and the September debate; we had the money in our account to continue to try and qualify for the upcoming debate, but we believed that even if we've done that, that when you look at the September debate, it just wouldn't add up. And so, again, we wanted to be honest with ourselves and with our supporters.

If there was a viable chance, I would not be standing here today. You know, I from day one, was running to win. And if that's what others are doing, then I'm sure they're assessing their chances as well, but as soon as it doesn't look like you're likely to win, at least in my case, you know I didn't want to mislead my family, my staff, our supporters, my constituents.

QUESTION: voters looking for...

SWALWELL: You know, I think it was, it is a crowded field, and it had people who you know have had, you know, high name recognition. Two of the candidates have run for president before that I stood on the stage with. You know, we have a senator in California who's running, who is—she's quite talented and quite popular, so I'll leave it to you know analysts to determine that. I'm proud of, you know, the issues we ran on and the team that we had behind us. I just wish I could have done more for them and those issues.

QUESTION: threshhold....fundraising, polling, number of donors, when did you decide...

SWALWELL: You know that the polling wasn't moving after the debates and you know the donor number was always going up but it was never going to reach the point where we could qualify for the September debate is 130,000. You know, and I you know what I'll be honest, I welcome those thresholds. Just as, as someone who's putting everything into it, expecting your family and your staff and your volunteers to put everything into it. We didn't want to just screw around here. We wanted to you know to grow with the thresholds and if we didn't, we were going to get out. And, and so I those thresholds I think are fair, and it's the best way to narrow the field.

QUESTION: How much did you raise last quarter? And, also, you went hard at the NRA in your campaign. Should they take this as a win?

SWALWELL: [Laughs] They're in bankruptcy court right now so you can ask them there. You know, look I think the win against the NRA is really from Moms Demand Action, the Giffords group, Every Town, March for our Lives, Brady, you know, they put them on the ropes and I was just, you know, a part of that effort, inspired by that effort.

For us, you know, the final numbers will come out I think in a week. I think ballpark is around $850,000 is what we raised this past quarter with just under 21,000 new donors for the presidential campaign.

QUESTION: Congressman, hindsight is 20:20. If you could go back and redo anything in the Democratic presidential debate, your approach, topics that you raised...

SWALWELL: No, no, I would have just, you know, taken my kids out with us; they're really popular—would have brought them out more.

QUESTION: as you run for re-election...

SWALWELL: You know I don't take anything for granted. I'm going to go, as I said, right after this meeting, go meet with constituents about immigration and the border; we've got a town hall coming up in about two weeks. Wo I don't take anything for granted. You know I beat a 40 year incumbent in 2012, who had taken a district for granted and I hope the district sees that these issues that I was running on nationally were the district's issues.

That people in our district have student loan debt. Our district, you know, we've seen seawater, sea level rise in Union City that could affect community communities there. Our district sends their kids to schools and worries about their safety. We pay— there was a constituent during this campaign who gave me an insulin vial and said please carry this because it's the only way you'll know how much it costs to me.

So the district, the issues I ran on nationally are the issues for my district, and what my district will find is a congressman who's reinvigorated and ready to bring these issues front and center. I believe because we ran a credible campaign—one that is ending today but a credible campaign—I'll be able to advocate in even more effective way for my constituents.

QUESTION: ...Are you worried about a tough re-election bid?

SWALWELL: You know, I welcome anyone who wants to run. It's what makes our country great is that ideas are tested. I expect there will be other people, you know who may consider running too. And so, I'm not, you know, anyone that wants to run, you know, should run and I respect anyone who wants to run because it is a hard decision to make. And, you know, I expect that we'll have a number of people in the race.

QUESTION: ...Tom Steyer is mulling jumping in...

SWALWELL: [Laughs] It's rough out there. But, you know, welcome. Welcome to the race, Tom. And I wish him well.

Great. Well thank you all again, and thank you again to our supporters, our family, and our staff. Thank you.

[ed.-event lasted about 20 minutes]


DUBLIN, CA – 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Congressman Eric Swalwell will hold a news conference Monday.

WHEN: 1pmPT Monday, July 8

WHERE: Swalwell for America campaign headquarters, 6250 Village Pkwy, Dublin, CA 94568

Swalwell for America
July 8, 2019


DUBLIN, CA – Congressman Eric Swalwell announced Monday that he has ended his campaign for President of the United States.

“I ran for President to win and make a difference in our great country — a difference on issues of the future such as finding cures for our deadliest and most debilitating diseases, taking on the student loan debt crisis, and ending gun violence. I promised my family, constituents, and supporters that I would always be honest about our chances. After the first Democratic presidential debate, our polling and fundraising numbers weren’t what we had hoped for, and I no longer see a path forward to the nomination. My presidential campaign ends today,” Swalwell said. “But this also is the start of a new passage for the issues on which our campaign ran. I entered this race determined to elevate the issue of gun violence, and at the debate, three top-tier candidates embraced my idea to ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America. Putting this idea and this larger issue of gun violence front and center in the Democratic policy discussion is an accomplishment, dedicated to the students, moms, and other activists who tirelessly demand action to save American lives.”

“I thank my supporters and friends, my staff, and my family for making this journey possible. I’ll never forget the people I met and lessons I learned while travelling around our great nation – especially in the communities most affected by gun violence,” Swalwell continued. “Too many communities feel this pain. But in every community’s grief, I see people who love one another and have inside themselves the grit to get things done to end gun violence once and for all. I will take those lessons back to Congress, serving my friends and neighbors in California’s 15th District while using my seats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees to make our nation safer and uphold the rule of law for all Americans.”

cancelled event...