The Latest: Buttigieg formally announces Biden endorsement

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has formally announced his endorsement of Joe Biden for the White House.

Buttigieg made the announcement Monday night in Dallas ahead of a Biden rally. Standing behind Buttigieg, Biden put his hands on the former South Bend, Indiana mayor’s shoulders, and both smiled.

Buttigieg says it is crucial that Democrats win not only the White House but also the Senate and House. He says America needs politics that are about decency and dignity, and he says, “That’s what Joe Biden has been practicing his entire life.”

Biden, speaking after Buttigieg, said his former rival “has as much moral courage as he has physical courage.” He said Buttigieg reminded him of his late son Beau, which he called the highest honor he could bestow on anyone.

Buttigieg ended his bid late Sunday. Amy Klobuchar ended her 2020 campaign earlier Monday and plans to appear at Biden’s Dallas rally to endorse him, as well.

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4:15 p.m.

Joe Biden has avoided mention of the turmoil in the Democratic primary race at a rally in Houston as his rivals Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar end their campaigns with plans to endorse him.

Biden campaigned in Texas on Monday, the day before 14 states hold Super Tuesday primaries, as the political world buzzed with the shakeup of moderates coalescing around him as the alternative to Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist senator from Vermont.

Biden says, “The decision Democrats make tomorrow and the next few weeks will determine what we stand for, what we believe, and where we’re going to go.”

In a dig at Sanders’ signature call to action, the former vice president said, “Most Americans don’t want a promised revolution. They want guaranteed results.”

It was a message similar to what Biden unveiled Saturday in South Carolina after his near 30-point margin of victory there reframed the race. Sanders had led through the first three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Biden notably did not mention billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who will be on primary ballots Tuesday for the first time. Bloomberg skipped the first four contests, spending more than $500 million of his own money on a strategy that he could make a late entry into the nominating fight and become the moderates’ preferred option in place of Biden.

Biden will campaign Monday night in Dallas with Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

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4 p.m.

Mike Bloomberg is not dropping out of the primary race, even as his former rivals end their campaigns and consolidate around Joe Biden.

Speaking at a canvass kickoff in Manassas, Virginia, the former New York mayor told the crowd in reference to his past mayoral elections, “I’ve won three elections so far. I don’t plan to start losing now!” The billionaire will be on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday, when he’s competing for delegates in the 14 states and a U.S. territory that vote in the Super Tuesday primary. He has poured more than a half billion dollars into the Super Tuesday states.

He told the crowd that he had spoken to Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, both of whom exited the race within the last 24 hours. He said that he “wished them all the best” and that both of them “behaved themselves” and “represented their country and their states very well.”

Bloomberg added: “I felt sorry for them, but I’m in it to win it, and we are going to go out and we’re going to go get ’em.”

The businessman spent Monday largely in Virginia, which votes Tuesday, but is already looking past this Tuesday’s primaries to next week. He plans to campaign in Florida, which votes March 17.

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3:15 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg is endorsing his former Democratic rival Joe Biden for president.

Two people familiar with Buttigieg’s decision say the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor will appear with Biden at a rally in Dallas on Monday night, a day after he dropped his own White House bid. They were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Buttigieg is the second 2020 candidate to exit the race and put his backing behind Biden. Earlier Monday, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar decided to end her campaign, and she plans to appear with Biden at the rally, as well.

The moves reflect an urgent push among moderates to consolidate behind Biden as a counter to progressive rival Bernie Sanders, who remains the front-runner in the race as Super Tuesday looms.

— By Thomas Beaumont

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2:25 p.m.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The move comes as part of an establishment avalanche in the former vice president’s favor heading into the Super Tuesday lineup that features 14 state primaries.

“Biden will be a much-needed stabilizing force following Trump’s disastrous term, offering a positive and progressive alternative to Trump’s dark vision of racism, xenophobia and policies built on cruelty and exclusion,” Reid said in a statement. “I believe Biden is best able to defeat Donald Trump and enact the policies we all care about.”

Reid notably held his endorsement ahead of the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22. Bernie Sanders won Nevada by a wide margin, but Biden came in second place, giving his campaign a boost after dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden parlayed that improvement into a resounding South Carolina primary win Feb. 29.

Amy Klobuchar, one of Biden’s Democratic presidential rivals, dropped out of the 2020 race on Monday and also announced plans to endorse Biden.

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1:30 p.m.

Amy Klobuchar is ending her Democratic presidential campaign and is set to endorse Joe Biden.

Her campaign says she is flying to Dallas and plans to join Biden at his rally Monday night.

The Minnesota senator is the third presidential candidate to drop out of the race in less than 48 hours, following Pete Buttigieg’s departure on Sunday and Tom Steyer’s exit on Saturday.

Their decisions reflect an urgent push among moderates to consolidate behind Biden as a counter to progressive rival Bernie Sanders.

Klobuchar outlasted several better-known and better-funded Democrats, thanks to a better-than-expected third-place finish in in New Hampshire. But she couldn’t turn that into success elsewhere.

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1:15 p.m.

Officials say turnout in Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina was the largest in state history.

Democratic Party officials said Monday that more than 539,000 votes were cast in the contest. That’s nearly 7,000 more than in 2008, the previous record.

Officials said turnout increased significantly in several counties, in some places by more than 80%.

South Carolina has open primaries, meaning that some Republicans may have crossed over to vote in the Democratic contest. State Republicans opted not to hold their own primary this year, citing cost savings and high levels of GOP support in the state for President Donald Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won Saturday’s primary, providing a much-needed boost for his campaign heading into Super Tuesday, when 14 states and a U.S. territory vote.

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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