There are no more Bay Staters in the 2020 presidential race.
With just one delegate to show for his efforts, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Wednesday afternoon that he is ending his Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump.
“I hereby announce that I am suspending my candidacy for President of the United States, effective immediately,” Weld said in a statement.
The announcement came after Trump surpassed the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday with landslide wins in the Florida and Illinois primaries. Despite this incumbent president’s relatively low overall approval ratings, none of his three GOP primary challengers ever garnered significant traction in an era of increasing political polarization.
Weld, who was the first into the race last February, was also the last candidate to drop out.
“I am immensely grateful to all the patriotic women and men who have stood with me during the past eleven months in our effort to bring better government to Washington, D.C.,” the 74-year-old former governor and Canton resident said Wednesday.
The decision also puts a period on a 2020 primary cycle historically flush with White House hopefuls from Massachusetts — particularly in the crowded Democratic race, which has narrowed to former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped out earlier this month. Rep. Seth Moulton and former Gov. Deval Patrick also launched short-lived bids. And there were also several Massachusetts natives in the race: New York City Mayor (and Cambridge native) Bill de Blasio, former New York City mayor (and Medford native) Michael Bloomberg, and former Alaska Sen. (and Springfield native) Mike Gravel.
Weld, who was also the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2016, reiterated Wednesday that he felt certain that he had the “experience and vision” to be president. Though after failing to muster double-digit support in his home state’s primary earlier this month, he signaled that his campaign had become more about weakening Trump than winning the nomination. Weld said he had “absorbed a few lessons from this campaign” and left the race further convinced of the need to address increasing budget deficits, climate change, immigration, income inequality, and impact of Trump’s presidency on the federal government.
“While I am suspending my candidacy, I want to be clear that I am not suspending my commitment to our nation and to the democratic institutions that set us apart,” he said. “America is truly the greatest country on Earth. It’s up to each of us to ensure that it remains so.”