Klobuchar to drop out, endorse Biden

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair Senate Democrats look to fix ugly polling numbers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens MORE (D-Minn.) will end her presidential campaign on Monday and endorse Joe BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE, according to three people familiar with the plans, the latest sign that the Democratic primary field’s moderate hopefuls are beginning to coalesce behind the former vice president.

The Minnesota senator will join Biden at a rally in Dallas on Monday night where she is expected to suspend her campaign and throw her support behind the former vice president.

Klobuchar’s decision came two days after she finished in a distant sixth place in the South Carolina primary and less than 24 hours after another moderate hopeful, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegAdvocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE dropped out of the race.

Buttigieg is also expected to endorse Biden, according to a source close to the former vice president’s campaign, signaling that moderates are coalescing behind Biden at a time when Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Bernie Sanders' ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions BBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children MORE (I-Vt.) is emerging as the front-runner in the race after wins in New Hampshire and Nevada and a virtual tie in Iowa.

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Her decision to drop out came just a day before Super Tuesday, when her home state of Minnesota will hold its primary.

Despite garnering national attention and praise for her primary debate performances, the Minnesota senator never managed to break into the top tier of candidates in polls and often lagged behind the race’s front-runners in fundraising. Her best showing in the nominating contest was in New Hampshire, where she scored a third-place finish.

Klobuchar’s decision to end her campaign comes amid mounting anxiety among some Democrats, who fear that the primary field’s crowded centrist lane would split the support of moderate voters, paving the way for Sanders to clinch the nomination.

But Biden’s outsize victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday is turning into a clarifying moment in the Democratic nominating contest. Klobuchar and Buttigieg both saw weak support from black voters in the state, raising questions about their ability to build the kind of diverse coalition a candidate would need, not only to win the nomination, but to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE in November.

Another candidate, billionaire activist Tom SteyerTom SteyerYouth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds Overnight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline MORE, also ended his campaign on Saturday after a distant third-place finish in South Carolina where he spent heavily in advertisements.

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Neither Buttigieg nor Klobuchar were particularly well positioned heading into Super Tuesday, though Klobuchar had hoped to notch at least one win in her home state of Minnesota — a state Sanders carried in his 2016 primary bid against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE.

But her fate in Minnesota was not as clear-cut as she had hoped. Recent polls showed her with a single-digit lead over Sanders, and the Vermont senator is slated to travel to St. Paul on Monday night for a rally in a sign that he is hoping to compete on Klobuchar’s home turf.

With Klobuchar’s exit, the moderate lane of the primary field is down to two major candidates, Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Democrats are sleepwalking towards electoral disaster in 2022 Budowsky: 10 million should march on DC, for earth and democracy MORE, who declined to compete in the first four nominating contests and will appear on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday.

— Julia Manchester and Al Weaver contributed to this report.

— Updated at 2:14 p.m.