On the heels of a bruising fourth-place finish in the all-important South Carolina Democratic presidential primary election, a senior campaign aide leaked Sunday that “Mayor” Pete Buttigieg will announced his exit from the 2020 race.
Buttigieg joins California billionaire Tom Steyer, who announced he dropped his bid for the White House Saturday evening.
Cable news outlet CNBC reported Sunday evening:
Democrat Pete Buttigieg is dropping out of the 2020 presidential primary race, a senior campaign aide told CNBC.
The campaign aide added Mr. Buttigieg is reportedly traveling to his hometown of South Bend where he will formally announce the suspension of his campaign.
CNN Jake Tapper anchor confirmed the report, tweeting the aide told him, “he’s getting out for the same reason he got in: he believes we need to beat Donald Trump and that we need to make sure we have the strongest candidate possible to do it.”
Buttigieg aide says “he’s getting out for the same reason he got in: he believes we need to beat Donald Trump and that we need to make sure we have the strongest candidate possible to do it.”
And who might that be?…
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 1, 2020
For now, the 38-year-old’s campaign accounts on Twitter and Facebook simply say an upcoming Dallas event has been postponed.
UPDATE: Our Sunday evening rally in Dallas has been postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience, and will follow up with our supporters registered to attend with further details.
— Team Pete HQ (@PeteForAmerica) March 1, 2020
Word of Buttigieg’s exit spread quickly, with reaction to the news #ThankYouPete quickly rising to the top of Twitter Trends.
Pete Buttigieg drops out of the presidential race
The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was the most successful openly gay candidate in primary history.
— LGBT Feed Los Angeles (@lgbtfeedla) March 1, 2020
I'm sending love to Pete supporters tonight. I know how much he meant to so many of my friends who saw some part of themselves reflected in his campaign. I hope that each of you stay in this fight. #ThankYouPete
— Ryan Nicotra 🗽 (@RyanNicotra) March 1, 2020
CNN reported that although his campaign started strong, fundraising from individual contributors dogged the candidate:
Buttigieg raised more than $80 million during his 2020 run, including impressive $25 million haul in the second quarter of 2019 that allowed the former mayor to invest heavily in Iowa, a state where he and his top aides believed his Midwestern roots, veteran status and focus on faith could build a broad coalition of support across the state.
But Buttigieg’s money was not everlasting. The campaign entered February with just $6.6 million in the bank and they struggled to hit their goal of raising $13 million in the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday.
Part of the problem was small dollar donors. The percentage of Buttigieg’s fundraising from small dollar donors – over time – has fallen from 65% in early 2019 to just 29% in January, according to his financial filings.
President Trump noted on Twitter that Buttigieg’s voters will likely switch thier support to former Vice President Joe Biden, serving to essentially shut out far-left Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
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
By suspending – and not closing – his campaign, Buttigieg is able to continue to collect donations.