Bernie Sanders drops out of presidential race

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ended his bid for the White House on Wednesday, effectively handing the Democratic nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden and ending hopes that a progressive challenger would take on President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders announced the news on a conference call with campaign staffers.

Sanders had long been seen as a front-runner in the Democratic race, surging to the top of the polls before a series of poor showings on Super Tuesday and subsequent primaries.

Biden locked in deep support among Black voters throughout the South, nabbing prizes like South Carolina and Texas, and earning healthy leads in states, like Michigan, that Sanders’ campaign had hoped were competitive.

Biden also had easy victories in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on Tuesday, putting his delegate total at 1,153 versus Sanders’ 861. Ohio’s primary, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed to June.

Sanders didn’t deliver a primary night speech following Tuesday’s losses, and a Sanders campaign manager on Wednesday morning said his team would be reassessing his White House pursuit in conversations with his supporters.

Many leading Democrats and onetime candidates had thrown their weight behind the former vice president after ending their own bids, including former mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.); and billionaire Mike Bloomberg. The quick turnaround of support for his competitor left the Sanders campaign reeling with limited options to secure enough delegates going into the Democratic National Convention in July.

Biden had pitched himself as the most electable candidate, and polls showed that Democrats were, indeed, primarily interested in finding a candidate who could take out Trump ― even if they didn’t agree with that person on every issue.