Elizabeth Warren, the candidate with a plan for everything, dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Thursday, but left one key question unanswered: Whether she plans to endorse her progressive counterpart, and occasional rival, Bernie Sanders.
“I need some space around this,” the Massachusetts senator told reporters during an emotional press conference on Thursday. “And I want to take a little time to think a little more. I’ve been spending a lot of time right now on the question of suspending and making sure this works as best as we can for our staff.”
Warren’s decision comes as the primary field, which once featured a historically diverse group of two dozen candidates, has winnowed down to a two-man race between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, and former Vice President Joe Biden, 77.
Earlier in the week, moderates Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg exited the primary and coalesced behind former Vice President Joe Biden, creating a formidable opponent to challenge Sanders and his anti-establishment movement.
Critics have worried that Warren's presence in the race has leached support for Sanders and have pushed her to drop out before a new round of contests over the next two Tuesdays, when 10 more states will vote and award an additional 900 delegates. In the 18 nominating contests that she competed in, Warren never placed higher than third -- including a humiliating loss to Biden in her home state of Massachusetts.
Warren first announced the news in a late-morning, all-staff call.
"I want all of you to hear it first, and I want you to hear it straight from me: Ttoday, I’m suspending our campaign for president," Warren told staffers on the call. "What we have done – and the ideas we have launched into the world, the way we have fought this fight, the relationships we have built – will carry through, carry through for the rest of this election, and the one after that, and the one after that."
On Wednesday night, as Warren faced mounting pressure from the progressive flank to exit the race, Sanders condemned his supporters’ attacks against the Massachusetts senator. During an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sanders said he was “actually disgusted” and “aghast” at the online vitriol directed at Warren.
Warren spoke with both Biden and Sanders on Wednesday night, but the Vermont senator declined to discuss the private conversation.
Asked whether he would consider Warren as a running mate, Sanders said it’s “too early to talk about that.” However, he said he would “love” to discuss with her what kind of role she could play in his administration, should he become the nominee and beat President Trump in the November general election.