DENVER (AP) – Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies, The Associated Press has learned.
The two-time White House candidate told his staff that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning – Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
“He just said it was time to get out,” said Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, Edwards’ rural affairs adviser. “I still don’t like walking away, but it was John’s decision.”
The former North Carolina senator will not immediately endorse either candidate in what is now a two-person race for the Democratic nomination, said one adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement. Clinton said Wednesday that Edwards called her to inform her about his decision.