Senator Bernie Sanders has ended his presidential campaign, clearing the way for former Vice-President Joe Biden to become the Democratic party’s nominee.
Mr Sanders, 78, told supporters on Wednesday he saw no feasible path to get enough votes to win the nomination.
An early front-runner, the Vermont senator found success with young voters, but slipped behind Mr Biden in recent weeks.
He helped make healthcare and income inequalities key election issues.
Among the most left-leaning candidates during this year’s election cycle, the self-described “Democratic socialist” campaigned on policies including healthcare for all, free public college, raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing minimum wage.
Mr Sanders, an Independent, had sought the Democratic presidential nomination before, losing out in 2016 to Hillary Clinton.
In both elections, he found favour with young voters who embraced his calls for a political “revolution”.
He won endorsements from a number of celebrities, including Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Mark Ruffalo and Dick Van Dyke.
Mr Sanders cemented his front-runner status at the start of the 2020 Democratic primary election season with wins in New Hampshire and Nevada, but his momentum lagged in later days.
Mr Biden made a comeback by winning a number of big states, including Texas and North Carolina, in early March, and later by racking up votes in Florida, Arizona and Illinois.
Mr Sanders failed to win key African-American voters across the southern states, who largely went for Mr Biden.
In recent weeks, Mr Sanders had been hosting campaign events through online live streams due to health concerns from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Biden, 77, is now expected to be crowned the Democratic presidential nominee at the party’s convention in August. He will then face off against President Donald Trump during the November general election.Mr Sanders told supporters in a live stream that the decision to end his campaign was “very difficult and painful”, and acknowledged some of his supporters would have wished him to fight until the last state contest.
“If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue,” he said.
Mr Sanders added that the campaign has “transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice”.
“Please also appreciate that not only are we winning the struggle ideologically, we are also winning it generationally.”
Mr Sanders noted that across the country, his campaign received “a significant majority of the votes…from people not only 30 years or younger, but 50 years or younger”.
“The future of this country is with our ideas.”
The senator added that he will still be on ballots in states that have yet to vote in the Democratic primary elections, in order to gather delegates and influence the party’s general election platform at the convention.
“Together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.”