Sen. Amy Klobuchar suspends her presidential bid

She had two sixth place finishes in Nevada and South Carolina.

March 2, 2020, 1:33 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, suspended her campaign Monday following an underdog third place finish in the New Hampshire primary and two sixth place finishes in Nevada and South Carolina -- two states with substantially more diverse electorates.

The Klobuchar campaign confirmed to ABC News that the senator is flying to Dallas to join former Vice President Joe Biden at his rally Monday night where she will suspend her campaign and endorse him.

Hours before news of her dismal finish in South Carolina, Klobuchar told reporters following a Super Tuesday rally in Richmond, Virginia, that her campaign had been approaching the race “state by state” because of lack of funding.

“I will say, you know, South Carolina for me, the issue was we got a lot of our funding in after New Hampshire. And while we had operations and staff in South Carolina and for that matter, in Nevada, we didn't have as big of a staff there as some of the other campaigns. Why? Because we didn't have the funding and we've been basically going state by state,” Klobuchar said.

As a three-term senior senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar was rooted in her Midwestern background, campaigning on moderate policies like opposing "Medicare for All", economic pragmatism, and elevating rural issues.

Her messaging and caucus and primary finishes, however, failed to clinch the necessary delegates to compete against current Democratic primary front-runners Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont and Biden.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party Liberty & Justice dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Klobuchar announced her candidacy for the presidency on Feb. 10, 2019, in a snowstorm that President Trump later poked fun at, calling Klobuchar a “snowwoman” on Twitter, and dismissing her calls for action on climate change.

She later touted the tweet as proof that she could fare well against the president, when she responded with humor saying “science is on my side [President Trump]. Looking forward to debating you about climate change (and many other issues). And I wonder how your hair would fare in a blizzard.”

Her campaign mostly laid low after that, straying away from the inter-party fighting of the progressive wing of the Democratic party on issues like health care, gun control and student debt.

Instead, Klobuchar aligned herself with bipartisan achievements, touting her Senate record of sponsoring or co-sponsoring the most bills enacted into law, according to a 2016 Medill News Service report.

In lieu of campaign funds for television advertisements, Klobuchar consistently held one of the most aggressive campaign schedules among the front runner candidates, mirroring her Senate races of years past to meet with as many voters as possible where they are.

She is still the only major candidate to have visited all 99 Iowa counties before the end of 2019. And later held one of the most ambitious Super Tuesday travel schedules among her Democratic opponents, visiting 11 states in the weekend leading into the biggest contest of the primary season.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)  speaks to guests during a campaign stop, Dec. 20, 2019, in Fairfield, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks to guests during a campaign stop, Dec. 20, 2019, in Fairfield, Iowa.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The investment slowly began to pay off, providing her the sufficient polling to meet the qualifications for debates, giving her ample time to expose her name to a larger audience outside the Midwest, and to contrast her moderate message against former and current opponents like former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and progressive candidates like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Debates went on to become Klobuchar’s bread and butter both in terms of exposure and fundraising. Her most memorable debate, the ABC News/WMUR Democratic debate hosted in Manchester, New Hampshire just days before voters took to the polls. She went on to clinch a surprise third place finish in New Hampshire, leading to a campaign fundraising record of $12 million raised in a week.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) arrives with husband John Bessler and daughter Abigail Bessler for a campaign stop, Dec. 27, 2019 in Humboldt, Iowa.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Klobuchar also had the support of over a dozen local newspaper editorial boards, with endorsements pouring in from the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and later from Super Tuesday states. Many of the endorsements citing her record of legislative effectiveness, and her moderate message as the best match against President Donald Trump in the general election.

But her campaign wasn’t without its challenges.

Klobuchar’s Senate duties, ultimately limited her time on the trail, pulling her from campaigning as the impeachment trial reached the Senate in the critical month before first votes were cast in early primary states, forcing the Senator to balance her campaign's time on the trail with her duties back in Washington.

As an increasingly more diverse electorate took to the polls, Klobuchar’s record as Hennepin County Attorney was also called into question, with critics noting her potential role in sending a black teenager to prison who may have been innocent of the murder charges he was sentenced to life with.

The knocks at her prosecutorial record came to a tipping point as recently as two days before Super Tuesday, the campaign cancelling her final hometown rally in St. Louis Park, Minnesota 40 minutes after she was scheduled to take the stage as protesters shut down her event by overtaking the stage and chanting for justice in Myon Burrell’s case.

Earlier in the race, multiple reports about her tough management style, including high turnover, and stories about berating her staff, plagued the first couple months of her campaign. She later apologized when speaking to multiple media outlets, including most recently to Cosmopolitan magazine.

“I think you can always do better,” Klobuchar said. “You learn from your mistakes and you can always do better. And I think that one of the things that we’ve found, being a woman leader, and I think some of the other candidates know this as well, you always walk this line and I think you want someone tough to take on Donald Trump,” Klobuchar told Cosmopolitan.

As the first female elected to the Senate from Minnesota, Klobuchar often spoke of the barriers female politicians and presidential candidates faced. One of her biggest sticking points state-to-state, county-to-county is what she says is her "track record" of winning "every race, every place, every time, all the way back to elementary school," especially as a female candidate.

Klobuchar’s current senate term won’t end until Jan. 2025. She was first elected in 2006, and then reelected in 2012 and 2018. She currently serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Joint Economic Committee. She also serves as ranking member of the Rules and Administration Committee.

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