Amy Klobuchar is dropping out of the presidential race, a campaign official confirmed on Monday.
The Minnesota senator, who campaigned as a moderate Democrat who would "get things done," surprised early with a third-place finish in New Hampshire, but her campaign had sputtered in the weeks since. She broke the news to her staff on Monday, a campaign spokesperson told NBC News.
She will endorse former Vice President Joe Biden at a rally in Dallas later on Monday.
Klobuchar's exit comes less than a day after the abrupt departure of her fellow Midwest moderate, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is also expected to endorse Biden later on Monday. Buttigieg's leaving the race increased pressure on her to drop out and consolidate moderate support for Biden ahead of Super Tuesday. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said on Monday, however, that he is "in it to win it."
Sanders told reporters on Monday that "the political establishment is coming together" to try and stop him because they are "getting nervous."
Biden denied there was an organized effort around the dropouts, telling NBC News that "there is no official policy to try and talk other people out of the race. I think that's a judgment for them to make. I'd resent being told, you know, well let's consolidate, you get out."
Klobuchar, 59, launched her campaign in her home state of Minnesota during a snowstorm in February of last year. On the campaign trail, Klobuchar painted herself as a pragmatist who would be a more effective leader than progressive candidates Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. She told audiences she could bring the "receipts," citing the over 100 bills she’d gotten passed in the Senate.
While Klobuchar leaned into her "Minnesota nice" persona on the campaign trail, she was dogged by reports soon after she jumped into the race that she’d been abusive to staff members.
Klobuchar acknowledged that she could be "tough" on staff at times. "I have, I'd say, high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country. And that's what we need. We need someone who is focused on getting things done for the country," she’s said.
Klobuchar frequently touted her record of winning in Trump districts in Minnesota, a practice she vowed to continue on the national stage. "I have won every race, every place, every time," she would tell voters repeatedly at campaign events.
Her campaign saw its biggest bump as she pulled off a surprise third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, having a strong debate performance just before she barnstormed the state.
But she had trouble maintaining what campaign staffers had dubbed her "Klomentum," coming in sixth in both the Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary.
Her campaign tried to reset with a $4.2 million ad buy in Super Tuesday states, targeting smaller and less diverse states as part of her play for delegates towards the nomination. She also repeatedly butted heads on the debate stage with the other moderate from the Midwest, Buttigieg. "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete," she said in one testy exchange in the Las Vegas debate.
Klobuchar was one of four female senators seeking the Democrat nomination. Her withdrawal leaves Warren as the last female senator standing.
The exits of Klobuchar and Buttigieg mean that every major 2020 presidential prospect is now a septuagenarian — Sanders and Bloomberg are 78, Biden is 77 and Warren is 70. Trump, who's coasting to the GOP renomination without much serious competition, is 73.
Trump told reporters on the White House lawn that the Democratic primary "is rigged against Bernie" but that "it was rigged against me and I pulled through." He also suggested that Buttigieg and Klobuchar were endorsing Biden in return for positions in a possible Biden administration. "That's called a quid pro quo, right?"