Updated Mar 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pete Buttigieg endorsed Joe Biden

Photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg endorsed Joe Biden in Dallas Monday night, further narrowing the Democratic field's group of moderates in the former vice president's favor.

The state of play: The two spoke on the phone Sunday evening after the former South Bend mayor announced his departure from the race. With Amy Klobuchar also dropping out and planning to endorse Biden at Monday's rally in Dallas, the race is now down to four major candidates — Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg.

Between the lines: The optics of Klobuchar and Buttigieg on the same stage — after the two candidates relentlessly attacked each other at debates — helps turn the moderates' unifying message into a real narrative.

  • That being said, earning endorsements was never Biden's weakness. He's racked up more Democratic Party endorsements than any other candidate, including one from former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier on Monday.

The big picture: Biden's team also wants to use its own momentum via a post-South Carolina fundraising boost to score significant victories on Super Tuesday.

  • The Biden team feels like "a clear choice" is emerging between him and Bernie Sanders, according to a campaign aide.
  • His closing argument ahead of Super Tuesday will focus on the idea that voters don't desire a political revolution — a key refrain of the Sanders campaign — and instead want results.
  • People close to Biden's team think he should keep pushing a message that "progressive" means progress, centering the campaign's argument ahead of Super Tuesday on the idea that Biden can get things done while Bernie can't.

The bottom line: This development isn't a total surprise, as Buttigieg's speech after dropping out sounded a lot like what Biden has been saying — and signaled a desire for the party to coalesce around a more moderate candidate.

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Why it matters: The Biden team feels like "a clear choice" is emerging between him and Bernie Sanders, a campaign aide told Axios' Alexi McCammond.

Joe Biden: Pete Buttigieg reminds me of my son Beau

Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden at the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami last year. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that the 38-year-old Pete Buttigieg was reminiscent of his late son, Beau Biden, because he also "has a backbone ... like a ramrod," after Biden's former Democratic presidential rival endorsed him for president Monday.

The big picture: Biden's campaign has been gaining momentum since he won the South Carolina Democratic primary. Former 2020 candidates Amy Klobuchar, who dropped out of the race earlier in the day, and Beto O'Rourke, who suspended his campaign last November, also endorsed him at a rally in Dallas on Monday.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect O'Rourke's endorsement of Biden.

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Why it matters: Biden's campaign was broke and all but dead until he won South Carolina on Saturday. The revival that unfolded across 14 states last night was built not only on strong support from African Americans but also a consolidation of white, establishment Democrats around the former vice president.