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Klobuchar to drop out, endorse Biden

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Senate Democrats seek to alleviate public concern about some results not being available on election night Washington flooded with Women's March protesters ahead of Barrett confirmation vote MORE (D-Minn.) will end her presidential campaign on Monday and endorse Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast 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 ButtigiegButtigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 Biden town hall questioner worked as speechwriter in Obama administration: report 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 SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw 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 John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE in November.

Another candidate, billionaire activist Tom SteyerTom Steyer2020 election already most expensive ever TV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month Inslee calls Biden climate plan 'perfect for the moment' 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 ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration 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 BloombergEverytown hits GOP on gun safety in closing .5M battleground ad barrage A closing argument: Why voters cannot trust Trump on healthcare Biden campaign swamps Trump on TV airwaves 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.