Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his campaign for president Sunday night, acknowledging that he had little chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
While the 38-year old ran one of the most successful campaigns this season, he struggled to compete during the recent South Carolina primary — trailing behind the other frontrunners: former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Buttigieg placed fourth with 8.2% support during the South Carolina caucuses on Saturday while Biden got 48.4% and Sen. Sanders 19.9%. The mayor was also behind billionaire Tom Steyer, who gathered 11.3% of the votes.
“Today is a moment of truth …. the truth is the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy, if not for our cause,” the former two-term mayor said in South Bend.
“Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to help 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,” he added.
Buttigieg’s decision to drop out of the race came after initial successes in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He was a top performer in both primaries alongside Sen. Sanders
His lack of appeal to voters of colors hurt him in the Nevada and South Carolina caucuses.
“Tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency,” Buttigieg said. “I will no longer seek to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have a new Democratic president come January.”
Another Moderate Down
Buttigieg, who made history as the first openly-gay major presidential candidate, built his campaign as a “moderate” — an alternative to his progressive rivals. And while Democrats often hit him for inexperience, his comeback has always been a call for “new blood” in government throwing shade at his fellow top-tier candidates who are at least 70 years old.
Several sectors noted how former Vice President Biden’s decisive win in South Carolina was a breaking point for Buttigieg — as it would have made it harder for him to win over moderate voters ahead of this week’s Super Tuesday.
Reports also said the Buttigieg campaign was pressed financially as donors switched to Biden following his South Carolina victory.
Responding to Buttigieg’s exit, which will likely boost Biden’s campaign, President Donald Trump said the ploy to take out Sen. Sanders from the race has officially begun.
Pete Buttigieg is OUT. All of his SuperTuesday votes will go to Sleepy Joe Biden. Great timing. This is the REAL beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play – NO NOMINATION, AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2020
Steyer Also Out
He finished in the top three on Saturday, his best showing in the 2020 Democratic race. But it was not enough to keep his self-funded campaign going.
“We were disappointed with where we came out. I think we got one or two delegates from congressional districts, which I thank South Carolina for,” Steyer said.
“But I said if I didn’t see a path to winning, I’d suspend my campaign. And honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency,” the billionaire activist, who has made climate change the center of his campaign, said.
The exit of former Mayor Buttigieg and billionaire Steyer leaves former VP Biden, Sen. Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the race.