by Rose Brennan & Megan Dreher, Senior Writers
Even before the biggest night of the 2020 presidential primary season took place, some major shake-ups occurred on the moderate wing of the Democratic party.
On March 1, former mayor Pete Buttigieg announced he was suspending his campaign after a lackluster performance in the South Carolina primaries. Though he won a narrow victory in Iowa and placed a close second in New Hampshire, he was not able to continue that trend in Nevada and South Carolina, and ended his race with 26 pledged delegates.
“The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy if not for our cause,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg made history several times over in the primaries. Had he clinched the Democratic nomination and won the election, he would have been the first millennial and the first gay man to become president. He was also the first openly gay presidential candidate to win delegates in a primary or caucus.
But it didn’t stop there.
On March 2, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar officially suspended her campaign. Both she and Buttigieg announced their endorsements for former vice president Joe Biden, who is polling second place nationally and is considered the most viable moderate candidate of the Democratic party.
“What I want all of you to do is vote for Joe,” Klobuchar said. “Vote for decency. Vote for dignity. Vote for a heart for our country. That is what he will bring to the White House.”
Former Rep. and former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also dropped by the Dallas rally and gave his support to Biden.
“The man in the White House today poses an existential threat to this country, to our democracy, to free and fair elections, and we need somebody who can beat him,” O’Rourke said.
“We have someone who is the antithesis of Donald Trump. Joe Biden is decent, he’s kind, he’s caring, he’s empathetic.”
This left five candidates going head-to-head in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3: Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Super Tuesday marked the first primaries where Bloomberg appeared as a potential candidate.
Before Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropped out of the race, Sanders was heavily favored to nearly sweep the Super Tuesday states. FiveThirtyEight projected he would win 12 of the 14 states up for grabs (Alabama was expected to go to Biden, and Tennessee was too close to call between the two).
That was thrown into flux by both Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out. FiveThirtyEight projected a much closer race between Biden and Sanders on Tuesday morning, with each projected to win seven states (Biden with Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, and Sanders with California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont).
Biden won all seven of the states he was projected to win, and also picked up Maine, Massachusetts and Minnesota on the way. As of press time, he garnered a total of 580 delegates and picked up the second-largest prize of the night: Texas.
Sanders, however, scooped up California, the biggest prize of the night. He also won the states of Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont.
It was a big night for Sanders and an even bigger night for Biden. The other three candidates, however, had a much different experience that evening.
Sadly, Warren had a case of the Terrible Tuesdays. She did not pick up a single Super Tuesday state and placed third out of fifth in her home state of Massachusetts. She also placed fourth in eight states, and she garnered a whopping 64 delegates out of the 1,338 up for grabs that night, amounting to about 5 percent of the delegates.
After two days, Warren ended her campaign on March 5.
In a statement to her supporters, Warren wrote, “I may not be in the race for president in 2020, but this fight — our fight — is not over. And our place in this fight has not ended.”
Warren did not immediately endorse any of the three remaining candidates, saying she “need[s] some space around this and a little time to think a little more.”
The night went about the same for former mayor Michael Bloomberg, who won the territory of American Samoa but didn’t do much else. He garnered a grand total of 60 delegates the entire night, and dropped out of the race the following morning, March 4.
Bloomberg then endorsed Biden for president.
“Joe has fought for working people his whole life,” Bloomberg said. “Today I am glad to endorse him, and I will work to make him the next President of the United States.”
The four drop-outs over the past week narrowed the presidential candidate field to three: Biden, Sanders and Gabbard. After his South Carolina and Super Tuesday wins, Biden is once again the top polling candidate nationwide.