The 47-year-old thanked his supporters and wrote in a blog "it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully". Lower polling candidates face hard questions about whether they have the money to sustain a campaign through the first primary contests. He'd been lauded by Oprah Winfrey in an interview before his entrance.
He attracted top political talent - Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, one of the most sought-after Democratic consultants, was his campaign manager - and he had one of the best fundraising hauls for his first day as a presidential candidate. Mr. O'Rourke, who was not an especially strong debater in his Senate campaign, appeared badly caught off guard. O'Rourke raised only $4.5 million in the third quarter.
Anchor Chuck Todd said conservatives might wish O'Rourke were staying in the spotlight, given how much ammunition he's provided them with his extreme positions.
Perhaps more significantly, the small-dollar contributions that fueled his Senate bid and the early days of his presidential campaign slowed to a $1.9 million trickle.
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"I'm pretty shattered", he said through tears. That's not a good combination in the state of Texas. "They're the ones who have a large part of the party behind them right now".
Brian Hardwick, who was Al Gore's national finance director and had traveled from Atlanta to hear O'Rourke speak, said he was "stunned". "I will be part of this and so will you", he said.
A former Texas congressman, O'Rourke was struggling to qualify for the next Democratic debate after months of poor showings in opinion polls and lackluster fundraising. I will venture a prediction that Pete Buttigieg, like Beto O'Rourke and Hillary Clinton, will never be President of the United States.
We should be proud of what we fought for and what we were able to achieve.
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"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15", O'Rourke said during the September Democratic debates.
He said he would work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Trump.
Ever since the August 3 mass shootings in his hometown of El Paso, O'Rourke highlighted gun reform issues and called for a mandatory gun buyback program. But it also injected energy - and a central cause - into his flagging campaign.
Carlson reached the end of his mock remembrance by calling the former candidate "the unshackled id of the Democratic Party".
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On Twitter, O'Rourke announced he would support a Democratic nominee to take on President Donald Trump. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. "His passion for solving our gun crisis has been inspiring to anyone who has seen him".