Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and endorsed Joe Biden, closing out a costly run that saw the former New York mayor spend hundreds of millions of his own money to fund his late entry bid.
Bloomberg exits the race the day after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday that left him with only a single victory: American Samoa.
“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden,” he wrote in a press release.
One thing set Bloomberg apart from the rest of the Democratic field: Money. The billionaire spent millions on television and digital ads to propel his campaign and quickly built a staff of more than 2,400 people by offering top dollar to a range of political operatives. The full extent of Bloomberg’s spending likely won’t be fully known for weeks.
Bloomberg’s campaign, based on its level of spending and support, was banking on strong showings in Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and parts of Texas, according to aides. But it was clear by the end of the night on Tuesday that the support they believed they had did not materialize.
Bloomberg’s decision to get out now is a boon for former Vice President Joe Biden, who was appealing to a similar range of moderate voters.
It comes shortly after Biden received the endorsements of former South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both of whom ended their campaigns and quickly backed Biden, in attempts to start coalescing moderates behind one candidate.
The coalescing was a significant blow to Bloomberg because it undermined a central argument to his campaign — that there is no strong moderate candidate that the party can coalesce around to take on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The former New York mayor’s decision to get out now is also an acknowledgement that his focus on Super Tuesday, as opposed to any of the early states, failed to work. Even with hundreds of millions spent to propel his campaign, Bloomberg was not able to overcome the operation and organization of Biden and Sanders.