O'Rourke tweeted Friday that his campaign "has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively".
"I have a feeling there are some folks in the conservative movement who don't want to see Beto O'Rourke go away too quickly", Todd said. But he was not able to duplicate in the presidential contest the fundraising and campaigning prowess he demonstrated in his 2018 race to try to unseat U.S. Sen.
Earlier this week, Kamala Harris, another candidate who entered the race to much fanfare, announced she was downscaling her campaign, laying off some staffers and reorienting nearly exclusively to focus on Iowa.
Finding viral and documentary fame, O'Rourke traveled to all of Texas' 254 counties, including ones not visited by Democrats in years.
In the earliest days of his campaign, Mr. O'Rourke was a fund-raising powerhouse, collecting more than $6 million in his first day as a candidate.
It is unclear whether Mr. O'Rourke's exit will have a significant impact on the larger shape of the Democratic primary race.
O'Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress, entered the race as one of the most talked-about candidates following his narrow loss to Sen.
O'Rourke's campaign changed gears drastically in August, following the mass shooting that left 22 dead at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso.
The New York Times reported that O'Rourke was not expected to run for Senate in Texas, where Republican incumbent Senator John Cornyn is up for reelection race. Unaffiliated with O'Rourke himself, the event was a signal of high expectations for the former representative to emerge in the top tier of Democratic-nomination candidates. O'Rourke was one of them.
His obvious political skills in his home state did not translate on to the national stage, however, where a lack of campaign organisation and an inability to stand out on a crowded debate stage cost him dearly.
The news of O'Rourke's decision slowly arrived at a rally he had planned Friday on the riverfront in Des Moines, Iowa.
O'Rourke said in a statement posted on Medium that his "service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee", adding that it is in the best interest of the Democratic Party and his campaign to unify around the nominee.
He also said that O'Rourke "on every issue, without exception, he took the most left-wing position you could take", as if to suggest that it was just a tactic to appeal to voters.