• Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary, her campaign announced, after she failed to place higher than third in any race so far.
  • Warren surged in national polls last summer and fall, racking up support with a policy-focused campaign that appealed to educated white progressives.
  • But she ultimately failed to break through as a top candidate for Democratic voters, who have largely favored Sen. Bernie Sanders or former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • With Warren out of the race, the contest has narrowed to Biden and Sanders, pitting the insurgent, populist left against the establishment-backed center of the party.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary, her campaign announced on Thursday.

“I wanted you to hear it straight from me: today, I’m suspending our campaign for president,” Warren said in an email to supporters. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you have poured into this campaign.”

“I know that when we set out, this was not the news you ever wanted to hear,” the email said. “It is not the news I ever wanted to share. But I refuse to let disappointment blind me — or you — to what we’ve accomplished. We didn’t reach our goal, but what we have done together — what you have done — has made a lasting difference.”

The Massachusetts senator went on to tout her grassroots support and refusal to cater to wealthy donors and billionaires.

“Never again can anyone say that the only way that a newcomer can get a chance to be a plausible candidate is to take money from corporate executives and billionaires. That’s done,” the email said. “We have shown that it is possible to inspire people with big ideas, possible to call out what’s wrong, and to lay out a path to make this country live up to its promise.”

Speaking from her home after suspending her campaign, Warren told reporters that one of the “hardest parts” of dropping out was that the Democratic field has narrowed to two men.

“And all those little girls are going to have to wait four more years,” she added.

Warren failed to place higher than third in any primary or caucus so far in the race. In a particularly devastating blow, she came in third in her home state of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Warren’s campaign aides had hinted that she would drop out, with one aide telling multiple news outlets on Wednesday that she would “assess the path forward.”

In a statement, Warren’s campaign manager, Roger Lau, acknowledged that the campaign “fell well short of our viability goals and projections” and was “disappointed” in the results from Super Tuesday.

“All of us have worked for Elizabeth long enough to know that she isn’t a lifetime politician and doesn’t think like one,” Lau said. “She’s going to take time right now to think through the right way to continue this fight.”

Sticking to one of her signature slogans — “Nevertheless, she persisted” — Warren tried to position herself as a “unity candidate,” with the goal of picking up enough delegates on Super Tuesday to make it to the Democratic National Convention.

But Warren’s dismal performance on Tuesday left her lagging far behind the competition in delegates and undermined her campaign’s strategy for staying in the race.

elizabeth warren

Warren greets members of the audience after the Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images



Warren, 70, rose in national polls over the summer and fall, building her support with a policy-focused campaign that appealed to educated white progressives. She was viewed for several months as a frontrunner in the race.

In Insider polling, most of Warren’s supporters — about 68% — said their second-choice candidate would be Sanders, so the Vermont democratic socialist is hoping for a boost as Warren leaves the race. But many of Warren’s fans also like Biden and could shift their support to his camp.

In November, The Times and Siena College released a set of polls finding Warren trailing President Donald Trump by 3 to 6 points among registered voters in three key battleground states — Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida — and tying with the president in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Both Biden and Sanders fared better than Warren in head-to-head matchups with Trump.

Warren ultimately failed to emerge as the top candidate in any one lane. Sanders dominated with progressive voters, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota came out ahead among voters seeking unity, and Klobuchar had an edge among voters looking for a female candidate.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., second left, is joined on stage by Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., during a campaign event at Rundlett Middle School, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2src2src, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Warren with Reps. Deb Haaland, Katie Porter, and Ayanna Pressley during a campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire.

Associated Press


‘I’ve got a plan for that’

Warren ran on a long list of far-reaching, comprehensive policy proposals, including universal daycare, debt-free college, and free public college.

While Sanders made his case for a “political revolution,” Warren, who’s described herself as “a capitalist to my bones,” pushed for structural change.

She argued that, unlike Sanders, she’s relatively new to Washington and politics, having run for office for the first time in 2012. At the same time, she also made the case that she knows how to get things done in DC.

Warren emphasized her anti-corruption proposals and said she would have sought lobbying bans for top government officials, new executive-branch conflict-of-interest laws, and a ban on stock trading for members of Congress and other top officials, among other ethics reforms.

But Warren lost some momentum amid questions about her stance on Medicare for All, a healthcare policy that has significant support among progressive voters, which she has hesitantly endorsed.

Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren

Warren puts her arm around Sen. Bernie Sanders after introducing him at a rally in Boston on March 31, 2017.

Mary Schwalm/Reuters


Sanders and Biden jockey for Warren’s backing amid a brutal primary season

Warren and Sanders are longtime friends who have championed the progressive agenda. They made an unofficial pact not to go to war with each other during the primary contest, but that deal blew up amid reports in January that Sanders told Warren during a private meeting shortly before she launched her campaign that he didn’t think a woman couldn’t win the presidency.

Warren’s campaign initially declined to comment on the reports, but the Massachusetts senator later confirmed them, adding that she had “no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences in punditry.”

Still, the development sent shockwaves through the political and media spheres, and the two senators clashed during a debate in Iowa.

But the two campaigns appear to be reconciling. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday evening that top allies and surrogates linked to both campaigns were discussing how to unite their camps and push a common liberal, progressive agenda after Warren’s disappointing showing on Super Tuesday.

Elizabeth Warren supporters

Insider polling found that of Warren’s supporters, 70% would be satisfied if Sanders were the Democratic nominee.

Skye Gould/Business Insider


According to The Post, lawmakers who support Sanders’ campaign began reaching out on Wednesday to people in Warren’s camp to gauge her willingness to endorse the Vermont senator. They also reportedly appealed to Warren’s supporters to throw their support behind Sanders as he gets ready to duke it out with Biden in a series of critical primaries.

Biden’s camp, meanwhile, has also been in talks with Warren’s associates about joining forces if she drops out, The Post reported.

Insider’s polling found that 70.5% of Warren’s supporters would be satisfied if Sanders were the Democratic nominee and 55.6% would be satisfied with Biden. Conversely, just 15.6% of her supporters said they would be dissatisfied if Sanders were the nominee, while nearly twice that numbers, 27.4%, would be dissatisfied if it were Biden.

Jake Lahut contributed to this report.

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