02/03/2020 11:03 AM AEDT | Updated 02/03/2020 11:09 AM AEDT

Pete Buttigieg To Drop Out Of 2020 US Presidential Race

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor struggled to gain momentum in more diverse states.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is ending his bid for the US Democratic presidential nomination, a campaign aide told HuffPost. 

The decision comes one day after Buttigieg finished in fourth place in the South Carolina primary with just over 8% of the vote. Exit polls showed only 3% of Black voters, a key Democratic voting bloc, cast their ballots for the former mayor.

Buttigieg was scheduled to hold a press conference in South Bend on Sunday evening, although his campaign did not specify the subject of the event.

The then-mayor formally announced his presidential bid in April last year, when he was virtually unknown on the national stage, and steadily climbed to the top of a crowded Democratic field in the months that followed.

Joe Raedle via Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing reenactment marking the 55th anniversary of Selma's Bloody Sunday on March 1, 2020 in Selma, Alabama.

Despite nearly tying with Senator Bernie Sanders to win the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Buttigieg fell behind in the more diverse Nevada caucuses, finishing with 14.3% of the vote compared to Sanders’ 46.8%.

Buttigieg, 38, was the youngest candidate in the Democratic presidential primary race and the the first openly gay person to seek the party’s nomination. His political platform served as a more moderate foil to Sanders’ and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s more progressive agenda.

Buttigieg quickly became a fundraising force, raising more than $81 million throughout his campaign, but he had spent most of that sum as the race entered an expensive, coast-to-coast phase.

Buttigieg had expressed optimism for his bid earlier on Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd he believed “pushing forward” was the “best thing we can do for the country and for the party.”

“Every day I am getting up looking how we can do what is best for the party, that is why we got into this race in the first place,” Buttigieg said. “A belief that this different message and a different kind of messenger could rally people together, could forge new alliances, could help us reach out in the very places where we have the best message and yet found ourselves defeated by President Trump in 2016 and cannot let that happen again.”