WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg walks to speaks with members of the media, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Plains, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Pete Buttigieg, who rose from being a small-town Midwestern mayor to a barrier-breaking, top-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is ending his campaign.
Three people with knowledge of Buttigieg’s decision told The Associated Press he began informing campaign staff on Sunday. They were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
His campaign said Buttigieg will speak Sunday night in South Bend, Indiana.
Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate to seriously contend for the presidency, was perhaps the most consistently impressive candidate in the Democratic field -- eloquent and disciplined -- and tried to make the case that his party thrived when it embraced candidates who offered generational change.
But the millennial, Afghanistan war veteran ended up being more successful at winning older voters while Sen. Bernie Sander, 78, captured the energy of younger ones.
Voters saw Buttigieg in the more moderate lane of the Democratic field, and he flourished early with a top finish in the Iowa caucuses and a close second place finish in New Hampshire. But as the race moved to more diverse states, less dependent on college-educated voters, Buttigieg struggled.
His departure from the race reflects the growing pressuring among more moderate Democrats to consolidate in an effort to blunt the rise of Sanders, who Buttigeig said was too liberal to be elected.