Updated Mar 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren suspends presidential campaign

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren is suspending her campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday, as first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by multiple other media outlets.

The state of play: Once thought of as a front-runner, Warren failed to win a single state during the biggest day on the Democratic primary calendar, even coming in third in her home state of Massachusetts behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

  • Warren was largely a nonfactor in the early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, picking up some delegates but falling fourth behind Biden, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
  • She did see a bump following a strong debate performance in February, where she ripped into Mike Bloomberg during his first time on the stage and raised $5 million in the 24 hours after the debate.

Between the lines: The Warren campaign insisted as recently as last Sunday that she intended to stay in the race all the way through March, hinting that she could make a play for the nomination in a contested convention.

  • That calculus seems to have changed after the consolidation of moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg behind Joe Biden, who surged on Super Tuesday.
  • Warren shares some progressive policy ideas with Sanders, but it's unclear whether most of her supporters would stand behind him or Biden now that their candidate is out of the race.

The big picture: While Warren has long been considered a top-tier candidate, one of her biggest challenges throughout her candidacy was explaining how she ultimately intended to pay for her massive, detailed proposals — most notably, her Medicare for All plan.

  • She also received pushback from moderate Democrats over her plan for a wealth tax, which would have placed a 2% tax on wealth exceeding $50 million, and a 3% tax on wealth over $1 billion.
  • Her campaign hit an early snag after her long-claimed Native American ancestry came back into the spotlight. She has faced continued demands for an apology from activists — and a presidential nickname.

What they're saying: Warren announced the news in a call with her full staff on Thursday.

  • "What we have done — and the ideas we have launched into the world, the way we have fought this fight, the relationships we have built — will carry through, carry through for the rest of this election, and the one after that, and the one after that.
  • "We have been willing to fight, and, when necessary, we left plenty of blood and teeth on the floor. And I can think of one billionaire who has been denied the chance to buy this election."
  • "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.”

Go deeper

Sanders: Warren "changed political consciousness in America"

Sen. Bernie Sanders praised his former Democratic co-contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren after she dropped out of the 2020 race on Thursday, saying her ideas will outlive her campaign because she "has changed political consciousness in America."

What to watch in tonight's debate: A new Joe Biden

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden at the Democratic debate at Gaillard Center, Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 25. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Viewers tuning in to tonight’s Democratic debate will meet a new Joe Biden — one who’s adopted two new progressive policies from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and who’s eager to pull their supporters away from the movement they’ve built into his own coalition.

Why it matters: This could very well be the last primary debate of the 2020 cycle, and Biden knows he has to start the work of winning over Sanders’ supporters before Sanders drops out.