Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. The former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor returned to his hometown to deliver the announcement.
Chasten Glezman Buttigieg took the podium first to passionately reflect on his husband’s campaign. “It has been an honor and a privilege to share my husband with the rest of this country. You’re so welcome.” He added that it was an “honor” to bring his husband home to South Bend. You can watch Buttigieg’s speech in the video below.
Buttigieg said that after more than a year of pursuing the Democratic nomination, he feels “the truth is the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy if not for our cause.” He added, “We have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further. Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values. And so we must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals, is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together. So tonight, I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency.”
Buttigieg vowed to do everything “in his power” to help elect one of the Democratic candidates to the White House. This prompted chants of “2024” from the crowd.
Buttigieg thanked all of the supporters and campaign workers who supported him over the past year. He pointed out his mother, Jennifer Anne Montgomery, who often appeared at his side. “My mom, who not only raised me but put her love of language into work answering letters for the campaign.” The crowd erupted into applause at this. Buttigieg also appeared very emotional as he talked about his father, Joseph Buttigieg, who passed away days after he announced he was getting into the race.
Buttigieg also praised Chasten. “To the guy who took a chance on a first date with somebody all the way in South Bend, Indiana, and never looked back. Chasten, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Report: Pete Buttigieg Made the Decision to Drop Out Hours Before the Announcement Because He ‘Believes It’s the Right Thing to Do’
The Pete for America campaign was supposed to fly from Selma, Alabama, to Dallas, Texas, for a rally on March 1. But according to the New York Times, Buttigieg changed his mind and decided to head north to Indiana instead. He told reporters on the plane they were heading to South Bend to make “an announcement there about the future of the campaign and we are looking forward to sharing with our supporters and with the country where we’re going from here. That is why you will find we are heading in a different direction.” Video of Buttigieg addressing media on the plane is embedded below.
CNN, citing “multiple” campaign aides, reported Buttigieg made the decision to suspend his presidential campaign earlier in the day. “He believes this is the right thing to do right now for our country… to heal this divided nation and defeat President Trump.”
It was not immediately clear whether Buttigieg would publicly announce support for another candidate. But considering that Buttigieg had pitched himself as a moderate alternative to Senator Sanders, it’s likely that Buttigieg’s decision will most directly benefit Biden. Recent polls have shown that few Buttigieg supporters considered Sanders as their second choice.
Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, a political analysis platform, remarked on Twitter that Buttigieg’s decision to drop out of the race before Super Tuesday could increase odds that no one candidate will earn enough delegates to cleanly secure the nomination. “Buttigieg dropping out may actually increase the likelihood of a contested convention. He was polling at <15% almost everywhere on Super Tuesday, meaning he was tracking to get very few delegates, but his votes will help other candidates to get over 15% and get delegates."
Buttigieg’s name will still appear on the ballot in the Super Tuesday states. He will also likely pick up votes from supporters who mailed-in their ballots before March 3.
Pete Buttigieg Won the Iowa Caucus But Failed to Gain Traction In More Diverse States Like Nevada & South Carolina
Pete Buttigieg entered the Democratic presidential primary race as a relatively unknown figure. Few voters outside of Indiana had ever heard of him when he launched the exploratory committee in January 2019, during his second term as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. But a strong showing during a CNN town hall in March 2019 helped lead to a dramatic rise in curiosity about Buttigieg and his background. The campaign’s gameplan was to say “yes” to every media request in order to put Buttigieg’s name and policy ideas in front of as many potential voters as possible.
Buttigieg’s gameplan also included a broad presence in Iowa, which included heavy spending, especially in the final weeks leading up to the first caucus on February 3, 2020. Buttigieg repeatedly explained that part of his strategy was to appeal to voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but then switched to the Republican ticket in 2016 to elect President Donald Trump. Buttigieg traveled to the more rural parts of Iowa to visit with voters in smaller districts, and the strategy paid off.
Buttigieg declared victory on caucus night even as the official results were delayed due to technical issues. The Iowa Democratic Party ultimately declared Buttigieg the caucus winner, awarding him 14 delegates. Senator Bernie Sanders came in second place and left the state with 12 delegates.
But Iowa turned out to be Buttigieg’s only primary victory. He finished just a few thousand votes behind Senator Sanders in New Hampshire, but he slipped behind in the delegate count after the Nevada caucus. Buttigieg finished third in Nevada, picking up only 14 percent of the vote behind Sen. Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
But South Carolina appears to have been the nail in the coffin. Buttigieg faced pressure to outperform his polls in the southern state and prove that he could expand his appeal to minority voters. But the former mayor attracted only 8 percent of the vote and finished in a distant fourth place behind Biden and Sanders. Tom Steyer finished in third place with about 11 percent of the vote. He dropped out of the race on February 29.