BREAKING: Pete Buttigieg suspends presidential campaign
March 1, 2020
Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first major openly gay presidential candidate, suspended his presidential campaign Sunday afternoon, according to multiple reports.
Following an underwhelming fourth place performance in the South Carolina Democratic primary, Buttigieg’s team reportedly identified an inability to engender support among black voters.
Buttigieg collected only 8.6% of the South Carolina vote, trailing behind Joe Biden (48.4%), Bernie Sanders (19.9%) and Tom Steyer (11.3%), with the latter also suspending his campaign. Buttigieg earned zero delegates in South Carolina and 26 overall.
Endearingly referred to as “Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg gained national prominence following an unsuccessful bid at the Democratic National Chair. A Harvard and Oxford graduate who served as a Navy intelligence officer in the Afghan War, the 38-year-old Buttigieg was one of the youngest candidates in the 2020 primaries.
Buttigieg’s “underdog project,” as he referred to it, started strong as the former small-town mayor narrowly edged out Sanders in the Iowa caucus. A strong showing in New Hampshire–where Buttigieg finished a close second to Sanders–offered hope before poor showings in Nevada and South Carolina derailed Buttigieg’s momentum.
Speaking to NBC News’ Meet the Press, Buttigieg said, “we’ll be assessing at every turn not only what the right answer is for the campaign, but making sure that every step we take is in the best interest of the party and that goal of making sure we defeat Donald Trump — because our country can’t take four more years of this.”
However, in an interview with Fox News, Buttigieg conceded that Sanders’ momentum was on the cusp of becoming insurmountable. With Sanders distancing himself in the Nevada and South Carolina primaries, Buttigieg said Democrats were embarking on an “irreversible trajectory toward nominating Senator Sanders unless we come together around an alternative.”
Buttigieg stated that he was that alternative.
Sanders’ early success coincided with a surge for both the Biden and Amy Klobuchar, casting doubt over Buttigieg’s ability to compete on Super Tuesday, a date where one-third of all available delegates are up for grabs.
But Buttigieg struggled to gain popularity among black voters. In South Carolina, where 60% of Democratic voters are black, Buttigieg polled at zero percent in November before raising his support up to 4% in February, according to the Washington Post.
Minority demographics condemned both Buttigieg’s response to a police shooting of a black man in South Bend and lack of racial representation and diversity on South Bend’s police force, stunting his ability to earn black support in key states.
Buttigieg was scheduled to host a rally in Dallas, but will instead travel to South Bend to make his announcement.