Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential bid Thursday after disappointing results in the Super Tuesday primary elections. This means Democrats will essentially be choosing between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Massachusetts senator hasn't endorsed Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, the remaining candidates in the race. But she has talked to both campaigns in recent days and is assessing who would best uphold her agenda, according to another person who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Warren's exit extinguished hopes that Democrats would get another try at putting a woman up against President Donald Trump. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard remains in the race but she has yet to get much support at the polls.
Warren’s campaign began with a misstep involving her identity as Cherokee or Delaware. She had talked about that as a family story. She later apologized and said she never sought membership in any tribe and reiterated in her letter this week that only tribal nations, not DNA tests, determine citizenship.
She acknowledged not everyone will accept her apologies.
Warren had the most comprehensive policy involving American Indian and Alaska Native issues. Her campaign co-chair was Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, D-New Mexico. PaaWee Rivera, Pueblo of Pojoaque, served as the Colorado state director for her campaign.
Warren supported giving tribes full criminal jurisdiction on their land.
Sanders, meanwhile, wasted little time capitalizing on the contrast by boasting that he would ship a full Medicare for All program for congressional approval during his first week in the White House. After long avoiding direct conflict, Warren and Sanders clashed in January after she said Sanders had suggested during a private meeting in 2018 that a woman couldn't win the White House. Sanders denied that, and Warren refused to shake his outstretched hand after a debate in Iowa.
Leaning hard into the gender issue only saw Warren's support sink further heading into Iowa's leadoff caucus, however. But even as her momentum was slipping away, Warren still boasted impressive campaign infrastructure in that state and well beyond. Her army of volunteers and staffers looked so formidable that even other presidential candidates were envious.
Just before Iowa, her campaign released a memo detailing its 1,000-plus staffers nationwide and pledging a long-haul strategy that would lead to victories in the primary and the general election. Bracing for a poor finish in New Hampshire, her campaign issued another memo again urging supporters to stay focus on the long game — but also expressly spelling out the weaknesses of Sanders, Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in ways the senator herself rarely did.
Warren got a foil for all of her opposition to powerful billionaires when former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg entered the race. During a debate in Las Vegas just before Nevada's caucus, Warren hammered Bloomberg and the mayor's lackluster response touched off events that ended with him leaving the race on Wednesday.
For Warren, That led to a sharp rise in fundraising, but didn't translate to electoral success. She tried to stress her ability to unite the fractured Democratic party, but that message fell flat.
By South Carolina, an outside political group began pouring more than $11 million into TV advertising on Warren's behalf, forcing her to say that, although she rejected super PACs, she'd accept their help as long as other candidates did. Her campaign shifted strategy again, saying it was betting on a contested convention.
Still the longer Warren stayed in the race, the more questions she faced about why she was doing so with little hope of winning — and she started to sound like a candidate who was slowly coming to terms with that.
"I'm not somebody who has been looking at myself in the mirror since I was 12 years old saying, 'You should run for president,'" Warren said aboard her campaign bus on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, previewing a ceasing of campaigning that wasn't yet official. "I started running for office later than anyone who is in this, so it was never about the office — it was about what we could do to repair our economy, what we could do to mend a democracy that's being pulled apart. That's what I want to see happen, and I just want to see it happen."
She vowed to fight on saying, "I cannot say, for all those little girls, this got hard and I quit. My job is to persist."
But even that seemed impossible after a Super Tuesday drubbing that included her home state.
Indian Country Today contributed to this report.