Mayor Pete Buttigieg has told his staff that he’s pulling out of – suspending – his Democratic presidential campaign.
The former South Bend, Ind., mayor had his campaign staff leak the news to media outlets Sunday afternoon. Buttigieg was expected to speak to supporters in South Bend Sunday night.
CNN, which also received a head’s up from Buttigieg insiders, said his biggest problem was money:
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.
Eight hours before he leaked the news, and a day after he came in a dismal 5th place in South Carolina, he was looking forward to Super Tuesday:
Hey Team! We’ve got 2 days until Super Tuesday and we need to give it everything we’ve got. Here’s what you can do:
— Team Pete HQ (@PeteForAmerica) March 1, 2020
By “suspending” his campaign there’s more latitude in how to deal with campaign donations.
In South Carolina, Buttigieg came in behind billionaire Tom Steyer, who has also dropped out of the race.
Political Twitter urged the Democrat and veteran to get out. “Drop Out Pete” was trending on Twitter until news leaked, and then “Thank You, Pete” became a trending hashtag.
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
Buttigieg was noted for his youth and for being an openly gay person seeking the presidency.
The thank you’s for Buttigieg were an endorsement of him getting out to make room for Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. Many people thought a brokered convention was a very real possibility.
Expect more dropouts as the March 3 Super Tuesday gauntlet gets closer.