UPDATE: Elizabeth Warren is dropping out of the presidential race, telling her staff that she was suspending her campaign.
“We didn’t reach our goal, but what we have done together, what you have done, has made a lasting difference,” she told her staff on Thursday. “It’s not the scale of the difference we wanted to make, but it matters – and the changes will have ripples for years to come.”
She did not announce an endorsement.
Her exit leaves Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden as the only major contenders for the Democratic nomination. Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, remains in the race, but is far behind in polls and the delegate count and has failed to make debates this year.
Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, was for a time last year the front runner — rising in the polls and drawing substantial media attention for her political savvy and extensive policy proposals, to which she even had a catchphrase, “I have a plan for that.” But her fortunes seemed to change later in the fall, as Sanders began consolidating support on the left following his endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Although she had a series of middling performances in the early state primaries and caucuses, Warren did seriously damage the prospects of Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, when he participated in his first debate on Feb. 20. Among other things, she confronted him on non-disclosure agreements that Bloomberg LP employees signed to settle their complaints over inappropriate comments he had made. Bloomberg dropped out of the race on Wednesday, after investing more than $500 million in his bid.
Warren, 70, was the youngest major candidate still in the race, and her exit makes it likely that the fall will see the election of the oldest person to occupy the White House. On election day, President Donald Trump will be 74, Sanders will be 79 and Biden will be 77.
Her exit is likely to draw consternation from many Democrats on why such a diverse field winnowed to a contest between male, white septuagenarians.
“There should be a conversation about sexism in politics and why she was held to a different standard,” Joe Lockhart, the former White House press secretary, said on CNN.
Later, Warren spoke to reporters and addressed how gender may have impacted the race.
“That is the trap question for everyone,” she said. “If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!’ If you say, ‘No there was no sexism in this race, about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet are you on?'” She said that she would have more to say about how sexism it impacted her candidacy.
She also said that she thought that there was an alternative to a “moderate lane” candidate like Biden and a “progressive lane” like Sanders. “I thought that wasn’t wright, but evidently I was wrong,” she said.
Trump had throughout targeted Warren with the label “Pocahontas,” an attempt to mock Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry. Native American groups saw the nickname as a slur and even racist.
The president used it again in commenting on Warren’s exit from the race.
He tweeted, “Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, who was going nowhere except into Mini Mike’s head, just dropped out of the Democrat Primary…THREE DAYS TOO LATE. She cost Crazy Bernie, at least, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. Probably cost him the nomination! Came in third in Mass.”
Warren came in third in the Massachusetts primary on Tuesday, which quickly triggered speculation that she would end her bid.
She shunned the type of high-dollar fundraising that is a mainstay of much of Hollywood’s political scene, but she still drew on her ties to the industry for support. Last week, she campaigned in South Carolina with John Legend, who said that he hadn’t planned to endorse in the primary but “it became abundantly clear the one candidate stood out from the rest.”