The South Carolina/Super Tuesday combo has delivered another knockout punch: Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar announced this morning that she’s ending her drive for the White House.
In suspending her campaign, Klobuchar joins billionaire Tom Steyer, who dropped out on Saturday, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who withdrew yesterday.
This narrows the presidential race considerably. With Klobuchar throwing her support to former vice president Joe Biden, it sets the stage for an all-out Super Tuesday battle between the centrist Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist.
Currently, the delegate count stands at 60 for Sanders, 54 for Biden.
With 14 states holding primaries (along with the Democrats Abroad global primary and a caucus in American Samoa), some 1,357 delegates will be at stake tomorrow—about one-third of the grand total.
Although recent polling showed Sanders leading in almost every Super Tuesday race where there were reliable numbers (including the big prizes of California and Texas), actual results may now change in light of the new composition of the race.
Clearly, this is great news for Biden, who, after a disastrous start to the primary season, is coming off a spectacular 30-point win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. With Steyer, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar out, it seems likely that their supporters will swing towards the moderate Biden rather rather than Sanders.
However, this is by no means a two-person race—at least not yet. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and billionaire Mike Bloomberg are still in the running, although so far they have been trouble connecting with voters (Warren has won 8 delegates, and Gabbard and Bloomberg have none). While tomorrow’s balloting will likely seal the fates of additional lower-performing candidates, it does offer a slim chance for a breakout.
Super Tuesday poll hours vary by state: early returns will begin tomorrow shortly after 5:00pm PST.