Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, leaves the race to take on Donald Trump after a poor showing in the South Carolina primary
Pete Buttigieg has ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination with a call for Democrats to unite in their fight to beat Donald Trump in the election.
The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend has never held statewide or national office but made a strong run in the Democratic primary, winning the Iowa caucuses narrowly from Bernie Sanders, now the national frontrunner, to whom he placed second in New Hampshire.
But Buttigieg could not make progress in Nevada and South Carolina, the first two states with influential minority voting blocs.
Speaking to supporters in South Bend on Sunday night, Buttigieg issued a call for unity. “Today is a moment of truth ... the truth is that the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause.” he said.
“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.”
“Our goal has always been to unify Americans to help defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values.”
Joe Biden, the former vice-president, won the South Carolina primary on Saturday by a landslide margin. The next date on the calendar is Super Tuesday, 3 March, when 14 states, American Samoa and Democrats who live overseas will vote.
Biden will look to harvest support from Buttigieg as he seeks to establish himself as the moderate choice to deny Sanders. The progressive from Vermont, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, sits in the Senate as an independent. Party figures fear he will not be able to beat Donald Trump in November.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday morning, Biden said he had not had any conversations with other candidates about whether they should drop out and back him but added: “I think everyone knows it’s going to be much more difficult to win back the Senate and keep control of the House if Bernie’s at the top of the ticket.”