Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor who made history by becoming the first openly gay person to be a serious contender for president, is dropping out of the race to become the next Democratic nominee.
The decision, which so far is only being attributed to sources and hasn’t been made official yet, comes a day after Buttigieg’s devastating defeat in South Carolina primary that left the former South Bend, Indiana mayor at a crossroads as it became more evident than ever that he had a strong vulnerability. His fourth-place finish in South Carolina showed that Buttigieg lacked the ability attract support from black Democrats, which “signaled an inability to build a broad coalition of voters,” notes the New York Times.
Despite the poor results in South Carolina, the decision came as a surprise to many considering how Buttigieg had managed to grow his candidacy in the past few months. From an unknown on the national stage Buttigieg went on to win the Iowa caucuses and came in second in New Hampshire as he excited a certain part of the electorate that was attracted to his charisma and centrist positions. But his decision to drop out shortly before Super Tuesday was a clear illustration of how the Democratic contest appears to be narrowing to a race between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden. Many see Biden as occupying the same centrist mantle that Buttigieg hoped to be able to claim for himself.