Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, fresh off ending his bid for the White House, is expected to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, CNN and Reuters reported Monday.
Buttigieg is reportedly slated to announce the endorsement at a Biden rally in Dallas later in the day.
The timing is auspicious for Biden. Tuesday is the most important day of the Democratic primary race, with 14 states holding nominating contests to pick who should face off against the expected GOP nominee, President Donald Trump, in November.
Without Buttigieg and Klobuchar on the ballot Tuesday, Biden will have a better chance of picking up additional support from moderate voters who aren’t on board with the more progressive agendas of candidates like Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Buttigieg suspended his campaign on Sunday, having finished in fourth place in the South Carolina primaries after failing to secure any notable support among Black voters. Biden fared far better in the state, securing key support among the influential voting bloc and surging to first place. He had previously faced underwhelming results in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
“Today is a moment of truth,” Buttigieg said when announcing the end of his candidacy Sunday night. “We have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further. Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values.”
The former mayor pledged to support his fellow candidates at the time, saying he planned to do “everything in my power to make sure that we have a new Democratic president come January.”
Biden cheered Buttigieg’s historic campaign after he ended his bid, saying it was based on “courage, compassion, and honesty.”
“We will be a better country for his continued service,” Biden wrote of Buttigieg on Twitter. “This is just the beginning of his time on the national stage.”
Biden picked up endorsements from several other high-profile Democrats on Monday, including Rep. Jennifer Wexton (Va.), former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), former Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
“There is no one kinder, more empathetic and caring than [Biden],” Rice tweeted Monday afternoon. “He will lead America with the same deep compassion and decency.”
The former vice president has emerged emboldened from his landslide victory in South Carolina, attempting to paint Sanders in particular as controversial and too great a risk for the party.
“This is no great secret to anybody: You can’t run as an independent socialist ― now a democratic socialist ― and ... expect to do very well in the states we have to win,” Biden said on “Fox News Sunday,” although he said he would support Sanders if he wins the nomination. “I believe that if I’m on the top of the ticket, we’ll win back the Senate and we’ll keep the House. Look, the people aren’t looking for revolution, they’re looking for results.”
Sanders, meanwhile, remains a political and financial powerhouse. His campaign said Sunday that it raised some $46.5 million in February, by far the greatest amount of any Democratic candidate.