After an improbable rise from mayor of a mid-sized Midwestern city with a hard-to-pronounce name to winner of the Iowa caucuses, Pete Buttigieg ended his astonishing run for president Sunday night.

“Today is a moment of truth. After a year of going everywhere, meeting everyone … the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy, if not our cause,” Buttigieg said. “Tonight, I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for president.”

Just as quickly as Buttigieg rocketed from political obscurity to a Democratic presidential front runner, the former South Bend mayor promptly folded his campaign after finishing a disappointing fourth Saturday night in the South Carolina primary, where he failed to gain any foothold with an important constituency of his party — African Americans.

That shortcoming, which plagued his campaign for much of the last year, stunted the former South Bend mayor’s ability to grow his appeal wide enough with key Democratic bases needed to win the party’s nomination.

It wasn’t for a lack of political effort.

Buttigieg spent months courting black voters in South Carolina, in a bid to reverse the national narrative and polling reality that he couldn’t connect with African Americans, who made up roughly 60 percent of voters in the state’s primary. He spent more days in the state than any other candidate and spent the most money on TV ads there (with the exception of billionaire activist Tom Steyer).

In the end, he couldn’t break through, winning just 2% support among South Carolina’s black voters, according to exit polls.

Buttigieg’s candidacy played much stronger in the nominating contests first two states of Iowa and New Hampshire, both of which are overwhelmingly white.


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