Marianne Williamson drops out of presidential race

Marianne Williamson, who ran a nontraditional campaign focused on the power of love and positivity, has officially ended her White House bid.

“I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message. With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now,” she wrote in an announcement on her website. “The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.

As of today, therefore, I’m suspending my campaign.”

Williamson, 67, is an author and co-founder of the nonprofit Peace Alliance, which attempts to “empower civic action toward a culture of peace,” according to its website. Williamson previously ran to represent California’s 33rd congressional district in 2014 as an independent, a campaign that was unsuccessful.

Williamson’s announcement comes just eight days after she laid off her entire staff due to financial issues, several former members of her staff told USA TODAY.

Williamson announced her run for president in January 2019. As a candidate, Williamson accused President Trump of harnessing “fear for political purposes” and often criticized pharmaceutical and agricultural companies for their policies that she said hurt Americans.

Her unconventional campaign made her the most searched candidate during the first night of the July debate last year, according to Google Trends.

“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days,” Williamson said during the first debate in Miami, with “dark psychic force” also trending afterward.

During the debate, Williamson’s comments also went viral after she described her potential first day as president.

“My first call is to the prime minister of New Zealand, who said her goal was to make New Zealand the place where it’s the best place in the world for a child to grow up,” she said. “And I will tell her, ‘Girlfriend, you are so on.’ Because the United States of America is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up.”

Williamson became known online for her aphoristic Twitter record and spiritual, non-traditional presence as a candidate.

Despite making the debate stage in June and July, the author struggled to meet the threshold to make any of the other debates. Her polling average was 0.3% as of Jan. 10, according to an aggregation of polling from Real Clear Politics. Williamson invested campaign resources in Iowa, even moving to the state in June. However in a CBS Iowa poll published earlier this month, Williamson was only at 1% in the state.

Some pundits, however, didn’t find Williamson’s unconventional, often irreverent political insights entertaining.

Critics pointed to her comments that were seen as anti-vaccination.

She later apologized for these comments, saying that she was personally in favor of vaccination but understood the “skepticism” surrounding it.

“I never should have said that and I’m sorry about saying that,” Williamson said on The Daily Show in August about her use of the words “Orwellian” and “Draconian.” “I’m not anti-vax… I’ve never told anyone to get off their meds.”

Williamson also received attention for her proposal to spend $200 billion to $500 billion dollars on reparations for African Americans, the only candidate to put forth a formal proposal in favor of it.

Contributing: Savannah Behrmann and Jeanine Santucci