Buttigieg later confirmed he was dropping out, and it’s believed he’s poised to endorse Joe Biden before Super Tuesday. Amy Klobuchar followed suit on Monday.
The decision comes after Buttigieg failed to place in the top tier of candidates in South Carolina (that nod went to Joe Biden and then Bernie Sanders). As he was perceived by many as more of a moderate candidate, other moderate candidates – like Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg or Amy Klobuchar – will almost certainly try to lure his voters to their side, but so will Sanders.
“Buttigieg dropping out is harmful to Sanders in 2 ways,” wrote political data analyst Nate Silver on Twitter. “Per the economist, relatively few Buttigieg voters were also considering Bernie. But, his voters will now help Biden, Warren and Bloomberg to hit 15% in more states and districts.”
Journalist Jim Sciutto wrote on Twitter, “Buttigieg unwilling to be reason Sanders is able to get ‘insurmountable’ delegate lead on Super Tuesday, CNN reporting.”
The New York Times reported on March 1, 2020 that Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was calling it quits, writing on Twitter, “Breaking News: Pete Buttigieg is dropping out of the 2020 race. He rose to the top tier of the Democratic presidential field but struggled to win broad support.” CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted, “Campaign aide tells me Pete Buttigieg is suspending his campaign this evening.” The Washington Post reported the same, tweeting, “Breaking news: Pete Buttigieg, 38-year-old former South Bend, Ind., mayor, ends presidential bid.”
Buttigieg’s candidacy was history-making, although it won’t go the distance if the reports are true. He was the first openly gay presidential candidate in the nation’s history.
According to CNN, Buttigieg is making an announcement at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on March 1, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
South Carolina Signaled That Buttigieg Didn’t Have the Broad Support Needed to Win the Presidency
Pete Buttigieg’s failure to be in play in South Carolina, where the black vote was much sought after, signaled that he wouldn’t be able to build a broad enough coalition to win the presidency and defeat President Donald Trump, The New York Times reported.
Could Buttigieg resurface as VP? That’s certainly possible, and the other moderate candidates (such as Biden), were they to prevail, certainly would appreciate the fact that he didn’t siphon away more of their delegates as they battle the Bernie wave. At only 38 years old, it’s likely that Buttigieg’s future in politics is not over.
Buttigieg placed fourth in South Carolina after Biden, Sanders, and Tom Steyer, who also subsequently dropped out of the race. He earned only 8.2 percent of the vote. That came after a strong showing in Iowa early on. He won the Iowa caucus and was second in New Hampshire, but he didn’t keep the momentum going into Nevada and South Carolina. He was an intellectual, even pragmatic, presence on the debate stages, talking about his military experience and positioning himself as a Washington outsider in touch with middle America.
On Twitter, Buttigieg called himself, “Afghanistan veteran, South Bend’s Mayor Pete, husband. Running for president to rally Americans together to meet our urgent challenges.”
Only eight hours before the news broke that he was quitting, he retweeted a campaign post reading, “Hey Team! We’ve got 2 days until Super Tuesday and we need to give it everything we’ve got.” An hour before the news broke, his campaign site tweeted, “Every day, folks write to @PeteForAmerica saying what this campaign has meant to their lives. For so many, our movement has inspired them, validated them, and reminded them that this country has space for everyone, no matter who you are or whom you love.” The tweet included a rainbow flag.
“We need a leader who can unite Democrats, independents, and future former-Republicans to beat Trump. That’s exactly what @PeteButtigieg is prepared to do,” the site also wrote. It may be that by quitting Buttigieg was signing on to party unity by helping avoid the sort of fractured primary field that elected Trump in 2016.
Biden supporters were happy at the news. One wrote on Twitter, “I’m glad to hear @PeteButtigieg is ending his run and hope @ewarren @MikeBloomberg and @amyklobuchar follow suit. I may have voted for you under different circumstances and hope someday I can. But now it’s time to come together and support the DEMOCRAT @JoeBiden.”
Some felt the move was designed to prevent a Sanders’ nomination. “The point is to keep Bernie from reaching a majority,” wrote one person. But another noted, “I’m making the call. He’ll campaign for Biden in an attempt to keep his voters in line with Biden. Rumors are Bernie is going to go hard after his Buttigieg’s supporters…”
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