WASHINGTON — Elizabeth Warren, who electrified progressives with her “plan for everything” and strong message of economic populism, dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Thursday, according to a person familiar with her plans. The exit came days after the onetime front-runner couldn’t win a single Super Tuesday state, not even her own.
The Massachusetts senator hasn’t endorsed Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, the remaining candidates in the race. But she has talked to both campaigns in recent days and is assessing who would best uphold her agenda, according to another person who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.
The people weren’t authorized to speak about Warren’s intentions and talked to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Warren’s exit extinguished hopes that Democrats would get another try at putting a woman up against U.S. President Donald Trump.
For much of the past year, her campaign had all the markers of success, robust poll numbers, impressive fundraising and a sprawling political infrastructure that featured staffers on the ground across the country. She was squeezed out, though, by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had an immovable base of voters she needed to advance.
Warren never finished higher than third in the first four states and was routed on Super Tuesday, failing to win any of the 14 states voting and placing an embarrassing third in Massachusetts, behind former Vice-President Joe Biden and Sanders.
Her exit from the race following Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s departure leaves the Democratic field with just one female candidate: Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has collected only one delegate toward the nomination. It was an unexpected twist for a party that had used the votes and energy of women to retake control of the House, primarily with female candidates, just two years ago.
Warren’s campaign began with enormous promise that she could carry that momentum into the presidential race. Last summer, she drew tens of thousands of supporters to Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, a scene that was repeated in places like Washington state and Minnesota.
She had a compelling message, calling for “structural change” to the American political system to reorder the nation’s economy in the name of fairness. She had a signature populist proposal for a 2% wealth tax she wanted to impose on households worth more than $50 million that prompted chants of “Two cents! Two cents!” at rallies across the country.
Warren, 70, began her White House bid polling near the back of an impossibly crowded field, used wonky policy prowess to rocket to front-runner status by the fall, then saw her support evaporate almost as quickly.
Her candidacy appeared seriously damaged almost before it started after she released a DNA test in response to goading by Trump to prove she had Native American ancestry. Instead of quieting critics who had questioned her claims, however, the test offended many tribal leaders who rejected undergoing the genetic test as culturally insensitive, and it didn’t stop Trump and other Republicans from gleefully deriding her as “Pocahontas.”
Warren also lost her finance director over her refusal to attend large fundraisers, long considered the financial life blood of national campaigns. Still, she distinguished herself by releasing dozens of detailed proposals on all sorts of policies from cancelling college debt to protecting oceans to containing the coronavirus. Warren also was able to build an impressive campaign war chest relying on mostly small donations that poured in from across the country — erasing the deficit created by refusing to court big, traditional donors.