With three months to go until the Iowa Caucuses, the Democratic race for President continues to narrow, as lower tier candidates are struggling to stay in the race - cutting staff, focusing only on certain states, or simply dropping out, as Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke did on Friday.
"Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully," O'Rourke said on Friday, as he dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination.
Like many in the race, O'Rourke had been unable to break out of a large group of candidates down around 2 percent in many polls, as the former Texas Congressman is not alone in facing a difficult road ahead.
And that’s a wrap as Beto O’Rourke drives off into the Iowa night in that mini van one more time... pic.twitter.com/K5ECGRQuhA— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) November 2, 2019
There are others who are being squeezed by outside events in the Democratic race, as Kamala Harris - who for a time was threatening to catch up to the top three candidates - is now shuttering most operations in New Hampshire in order to focus on Iowa.
"The campaign will continue to have a staff presence in New Hampshire," said Harris's spokesman in the Granite State, "but the focus is and will continue to be on Iowa."
A recent poll in New Hampshire showed Harris at just three percent; one reason she has decided to go "all-in on Iowa."
On the record statement from Nate Evans, Harris Campaign New Hampshire Communications Director:— Amanda Golden (@amandawgolden) November 1, 2019
"...the campaign has made a strategic decision to realign resources to go all-in on Iowa, resulting in office closures and staff realignments and reductions in New Hampshire..." pic.twitter.com/xrBJMZV0UM
Another candidate making similar choices is Julian Castro, who had already said he would drop out if he could not raise $800,000 in the latter part of October.
While Castro did hit that fundraising goal, his campaign faces much the same difficulties as O'Rourke and Harris - far back in the polls, and unable to break free of the lower tier of candidates.
That led to news this weekend that Castro also won't focus on New Hampshire, and instead look for a boost in on Iowa and the third state on the primary calendar in 2020, Nevada.
News: Julian Castro, fighting to stay in the 2020 race, plans to refocus his presidential campaign on Iowa, Nevada and Texas in the coming days, but is supporting his staffers looking for jobs with other campaigns.— Dan Merica (@merica) November 2, 2019
Our story from Iowa: https://t.co/uasZ1gfwJO
The difficulties for candidates like Castro, Harris, O'Rourke and others was driven home on Sunday in the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll on the Democratic race.
Once you get past Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and then jump to Pete Buttigieg, every other Democratic candidate is at 2 percent or lower.
Post-ABC poll finds stable trio of Biden, Warren and Sanders atop Democratic 2020 field, with Buttigieg rising to fourthhttps://t.co/LeGPvt4OCJ— Post Polls (@PostPolls) November 3, 2019
Full poll results: https://t.co/ZJBIdvym0f pic.twitter.com/skPATyw34w
Also helping to reduce the size of the Democratic field is the qualifying process involving the upcoming debates for Democrats.
Nine candidates are expected in the November debate in Georgia - but so far, only the top four, Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg, have qualified for a December debate in Los Angeles.