Amy Klobuchar suspends campaign for Democratic presidential nomination, will endorse Joe Biden

Klobuchar's exit from the race leaves Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the sole woman vying to take on President Trump

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published March 2, 2020 1:46PM (EST)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., ended her presidential bid on Monday and will endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, her campaign said.

Klobuchar's exit from the race leaves fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as the sole woman vying to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Klobuchar appeared on the brink of a surge when she finished third in New Hampshire with nearly 20% of the vote, but her hopes fizzled after she was only able to win 4% of the vote in Nevada and 3% in South Carolina. She polled under 5% nationally in recent days.

The Minnesota senator will fly to Dallas to endorse Biden at his Monday night rally in the delegate-rich state of Texas, her campaign told The Associated Press.

Klobuchar ran as an unapologetic moderate, frequently citing her track record of bipartisanship during her three terms in the Senate and criticizing progressive proposals like Medicare for All. She also touted her ability to win in the Midwest, where President Donald Trump won key states in 2016.

Klobuchar, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden split the moderate vote, paving the way for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to win the most votes in the first three nominating contests. The rise of former New York City Mike Bloomberg, a former Republican, further clouded Klobuchar's prospects.

Buttigieg dropped out of the race Sunday despite winning the most delegates in Iowa and tying for the most delegates in New Hampshire. Buttigieg also plans to endorse Biden, Reuters reported.

He often sparred with Klobuchar on the debate stage, as the two centrists argued over political experience, Klobuchar's foreign policy chops and Buttigieg's military service.

Klobuchar also fended off criticism over reports that she mistreated her Senate staff and threw objects at aides during fits of anger. She argued that many of her top aides have been with her for years, though reports state she has one of the highest staff turnover rates in Congress.

More recently, the former prosecutor was dogged by criticism over her handling of a 2002 case in which a black teenager was accused of fatally shooting an 11-year-old girl. Klobuchar cited the case as an example of her toughness on crime, but the Associated Press reported that new evidence in the case raised questions of whether the teen was railroaded by police. Klobuchar backed an investigation into the new evidence, but she was forced to cancel a Sunday rally in Minneapolis in response to protests over the case.

Though Klobuchar struggled to win over a sizeable number of voters, she racked up a number of editorial endorsements from newspapers like the Iowa's Quad-City Times, New Hampshire Union Leader, the Houston Chronicle and the Seattle Times. She also earned a dual endorsement, along with Warren, from The New York Times.

Klobuchar struggled to keep up with the other candidates' fundraising, bringing in roughly a quarter of what Sanders and Buttigieg raised in the last quarter. She said her performance at the New Hampshire debate and in the primary led to a major fundraising boost, though she was unable to ramp up in must-win states ahead of Super Tuesday.

Warren praised Klobuchar as her "friend" after the announcement.

"You've been a champion for working families and women in politics, and I look forward to keeping up that fight by your side," she tweeted.

The Sanders campaign slammed Klobuchar and Buttigieg for opting to endorse Biden after leaving the race.

"Anyone who thinks Biden would be a better candidate than Bernie against Trump hasn't been watching the 10 Democratic debates," campaign manager Faiz Shakir told NBC News. "Biden doesn't have the record, vision, excitement, coalition that Bernie does. We need to do more than just defeat Trump. We need progressive change."

With Klobuchar and Buttigieg out, MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out that Bloomberg, who entered the race ostensibly to stop Sanders, is now the only moderate candidate threatening to siphon votes away from Biden.

"An amazing irony that Michael Bloomberg, the man who so many pundits hailed as a centrist savior, is now the single candidate most likely to help Sanders emerge from Super Tuesday with a delegate lead," Hayes wrote on Twitter.

Warren, meanwhile, rejected calls to drop out to pave the way for Sanders in the so-called "progressive lane."

"I persist," she said during an event in Alabama on Sunday. "This crisis demands more than a senator who has good ideas, but whose 30-year track record shows he consistently calls for things he fails to get done and consistently opposes things he nevertheless fails to stop."

Klobuchar, despite dropping out days later, hit out at claims that a woman could not win the presidency during her final debate last week.

"Look at the facts. Michigan has a woman governor right now, and she beat a Republican — Gretchen Whitmer. Kansas has a woman governor right now, and she beat Kris Kobach," she said. "You have to be competent to win, and you have to know what you're doing. You don't have to be the skinniest person in the room. You don't have to be the loudest person. You have to be competent."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Amy Klobuchar Election 2020 Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Politics