Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg have united behind Joe Biden’s presidential bid as moderate Democrats scrambled to boost the former vice president hours before voting began across a series of high-stakes Super Tuesday states.
Ms Klobuchar formally suspended her campaign and endorsed Mr Biden on Monday, a day after Mr Buttigieg announced his formal exit.
Mr Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is expected to announce his support for Mr Biden at a rally in Dallas that Ms Klobuchar also plans to attend, according to sources.
The developments came on the eve of Super Tuesday, when 14 states, one US territory and Democrats abroad cast ballots in the party’s nomination fight.
Ms Klobuchar and Mr Buttigieg become the second and third Democrats to abandon their presidential bids since Joe Biden scored a resounding victory in South Carolina, his first of the rollercoaster nomination fight.
A shrinking group of other Democrats vowed to press on, potentially towards a contested convention.
Fiery progressive Bernie Sanders remains the undisputed front-runner, but the rest of the field is unsettled, even after Mr Biden’s South Carolina win and the departures of Mr Klobuchar, Mr Buttigieg and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg could create problems for Mr Biden’s establishment appeal.
Mr Bloomberg, who will appear on a 2020 ballot for the first time on Tuesday, has invested more than half a billion dollars in his presidential bid and racked up many high-profile endorsements.
The Biden campaign reported back-to-back days of 5 million dollar fundraising hauls, by far the best 48-hour stretch of his campaign.
Mr Sanders was focused on California, the crown jewel of Super Tuesday. The state offers 415 delegates, which is more than double the amount from Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
He predicted victory in California as he rallied thousands of supporters in multiple stops and attacked Mr Biden’s record on foreign policy, trade and social security, among other issues.
“My point here is not just to be negative about Joe,” Mr Sanders said. “My point here is to ask you: ‘What campaign is going to beat Donald Trump?’”