Pete Buttigieg is ending his Democratic presidential bid.
The 2020 Democrat is set to return to his home state on Sunday night, where he is expected formally to announce the end of his White House campaign, aides confirmed.
Buttigieg, the youngest candidate in the Democratic presidential field at 38, skyrocketed from the nationally unknown mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to a top-tier candidate in the Democratic presidential field with the help of an aggressive “go everywhere” media strategy. His unique biography a gay, married, Midwestern millennial Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar who served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan with the Navy Reserve piqued the interest of voters and reporters for months.
Narrowly winning the Iowa caucuses against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and finishing a close second in the New Hampshire primary wasn’t enough to give Buttigieg the momentum he needed to compete in the remaining Democratic contests, however. By the Nevada caucuses in late February, where he placed third with just over 17% of the vote, it became clear that his base of support wasn’t going to expand.
In South Carolina, Buttigieg placed a distant fourth with 8% of the vote, despite spending an enormous amount of time and resources trying to court black voters. One of his key fans, former President Jimmy Carter, told reporters that the candidate “doesn’t know what he’s going to do after South Carolina.”
On Sunday, Buttigieg hinted in an interview with NBC that his campaign might soon be coming to an end.
“Every day we are in this campaign is a day that we have reached the conclusion that pushing forward is the best thing we can do for the country and for the party,” he said.
Although his campaign ended with rather abruptly with two poor finishes, Buttigieg remained a competitive candidate for months despite starting with nearly zero name recognition and a bare-bones campaign.
By mid-2019, he was a fundraising force and beat the rest of the Democratic presidential field in donations from April through June. But, as he rose in national polls, he struggled to secure support from minority voters, who make up a majority of Democratic primary voters in some key primary states and are an important voting bloc for Democrats in general elections. The killing of a black man by a white South Bend police officer over the summer sparked protests and compounded his problems.
Rival candidates went on the attack by the end of the year, with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar suggesting Buttigieg’s mayoral experience was not enough to be president and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren slamming him for hosting a high-dollar fundraiser in a ” wine cave.”
Buttigieg campaigned on leading “a generation of American leadership.” Early in his campaign, he presented bold proposals such as eliminating the Electoral College and expanding the number of Supreme Court justices to 15 but rarely mentioned those ideas later. He toed the line between liberal and centrist, declining to support far-left ideas rivals presented, such as a wealth tax or eliminating private health insurance, in favor of a single-payer “Medicare for all” plan.