Pete Buttigieg has decided to end his presidential campaign after a poor performance in the South Carolina primary, which could give political assistance to other candidates, especially former Vice President Joe Biden.
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made his decision on Sunday, March 1, just two days before Super Tuesday—the biggest voting day of the primary, when 15 states and territories will allot about one-third of the delegates over all, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
Speaking to his supporters in South Bend, Buttigieg admitted that his path “has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause.”
“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 country together,” Buttigieg said.
The former mayor started his presidential campaign last April, becoming the first openly gay presidential candidate. He has touted a unifying message and the promise of generational change in Washington, promoted his own “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan and sought to attract moderate voters of all stripes, according to The Hill.
Buttigieg narrowly won the delegate share over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, but fared worse in Nevada and South Carolina, where he came in third and fourth place, respectively.
With Buttigieg’s decision to drop out of the race, his voters will have to select another candidate to vote for on Super Tuesday.
President Donald Trump predicted on Sunday that Buttigieg’s supporters would go to Biden.
“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!” President Trump wrote in a tweet.
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
AP reported that Buttigieg has not endorsed any of his former rivals, but he and Biden traded voicemails on Sunday. In addition, the former mayor has spent the past several weeks warning that Sanders to take on President Trump would be risky.
Buttigieg left the White House bid after billionaire Tom Steyer also suspended his campaign on Saturday, leaving Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the race.