Wayne Messam

Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Fla., at a presidential forum at Trinity Washington University, in Washington, June 17, 2019. Messam, at one time among three sitting mayors running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has announced his decision to end his presidential campaign. — The New York Times/Tom Brenner

Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, has ended a presidential campaign that barely got off the ground.

Messam, 45, announced his decision Wednesday in a post on Medium.

“I jumped in an already crowded field of capable candidates to change the direction of this nation caused by the dysfunction of Washington and the poor leadership of the current presidency,” he said. “I knew the odds were a steep hill to climb but I have always fought for what is right and will continue to break barriers never broken.”

Messam declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination on March 28, discussing student debt, prescription drug costs and clean air, and telling CNN that he wanted to provide “the leadership that will make these issues a priority and have the political will to solve these issues for the American people.”

He touted his background as a son of Jamaican immigrants, a former professional football player, a small-business owner and a mayor. But he did not articulate a vision that distinguished him from the many other candidates in the field, most of them better known and more politically experienced.

He rarely registered 1% in the polls and he did not qualify for any of the Democratic debates.

Messam was one of three sitting mayors to enter the race, along with Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Bill de Blasio of New York. (De Blasio has since dropped out, but his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg of New York, appears likely to enter.)

Messam cast that as an advantage, saying that under his leadership, Miramar had grappled with many of the same challenges the country faces: It increased the minimum wage for city workers, declared itself a “safe zone” for immigrants in the country illegally, sued the Florida government in an effort to overturn a permissive gun law, and pledged to continue to support the Paris climate accords after President Donald Trump rejected them.

But the odds for Messam were always extraordinarily long: Besides his low name recognition, no sitting mayor has ever been elected president.

In October, he reported raising just $5 in the third fiscal quarter — an error that his campaign corrected a month later. In an amended report to the Federal Election Commission this week, he said he had actually raised $15,000 — lagging the next-lowest fundraiser by more than $300,000.

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