2020 Democratic Primary Update: O’Rourke is out and Buttigieg is surging.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced his intent to drop out of the 2020 presidential race on Friday, Nov. 1. He writes, “It is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” likely in reference to fundraising issues and being dominated by candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  Although he is no longer in the race, he promises to support the “eventual nominee of this party.”

Buttigieg is gaining momentum after a convincing performance at The Liberty and Justice Celebration Dinner, during which he promised to “stand amid the rubble, pick up the pieces of our divided nation and lead us to real action to do right by Americans who have waited far too long.”  He used this event to portray himself as a younger alternative to Joe Biden, who is struggling to regain momentum. Buttigieg maintains a strong fourth place in the national polls, and, after a survey of potential caucus voters by Iowa State University, he was moved to second place with 20% popular support.

Elizabeth Warren (22%) is leading the polls in Iowa while Bernie Sanders follows in second place at 19%. Biden’s support has dropped to 17%; Buttigieg’s has surged to 18%.

Biden’s national poll numbers have plateaued around the mid-20% scope. Although Warren almost overtook Biden in September, she dropped by a few points over the course of October, and she is in second place in the national polls at 21% popularity. As of Nov. 1, Sander’s support has dropped to 14%, and Buttigieg’s support has risen to 8%. Sanders is leading in financial support with Warren a close second and Buttigieg in third.

No candidate in particular seems to be in control of the presidential race at the moment. Biden is not as far ahead as he was in the middle of the summer, and he is not leading the race by significant ground ahead of Warren and Sanders. Warren has gained the most momentum by far, although her numbers have dropped slightly since the October debate. Though both have gained a few points recently, neither Sanders nor Buttigieg are close to taking the lead. Buttigieg’s gains in Iowa have not significantly affected his progress in the other states. According to The New York Times, it will become harder for Sanders and Buttigieg to progress any further if Warren or Biden emerges as “the dominant standard-bearer for the Democratic Party’s populist wing” in the early states. Both Warren and Biden entered the race with a head-start on funding and “enthusiastic political organization.”

Upon the announcement of Warren’s $20 trillion healthcare plan, a primary point of contention, Sanders said his plan would not require an increase in middle-class taxation. Such issues will be central in the election.

Sources: New York Times, CBS NEWS, Independent

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