Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg will drop out of the 2020 presidential race, the New York Times reported. The first openly-gay candidate to run a major presidential campaign, Buttigieg won the Iowa caucuses — beating Bernie Sanders by one delegate — and came in second in New Hampshire. But he only earned third in Nevada and fourth place in South Carolina, confirming polling that showed he was not popular with the diverse Democratic base. According to exit polls, the former mayor only won three percent of black voters in South Carolina.
His disappointing showing in recent states and internal Super Tuesday polling numbers left Buttigieg with no chance to rival Sanders in delegates by the convention.
After the South Carolina results came in, the candidate met with staff, then flew to Georgia to meet Sunday with former president Jimmy Carter. The former president told reporters afterward that Buttigieg “doesn’t know what he’s going to do.” The campaign also announced a call with donors would take place Sunday evening but did not specify a topic.
A Rhodes scholar and Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, Buttigieg presented himself as a moderate alternative to progressive candidates like Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with plans like “Medicare For All Who Want It” — a less drastic alternative to Medicare For All. He also positioned himself as a younger more vibrant moderate than former vice president Joe Biden or Sen. Amy Klobuchar, although he never did catch fire with young voters like Sanders has. Buttigieg also openly admitted he hoped to attract “future former Republicans” who were unhappy with President Trump and said that nominating Sanders would guarantee a Trump victory in 2020.
Thanks to his early popularity and quick rise from small-town mayor to presidential contender, Buttigieg was able to raise a large amount of money, most of which he spent in Iowa and New Hampshire, leaving him with little for later states as his polling numbers appeared to top out around 10 percent.