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Monday, May 27, 2024

Edwards announces end of presidential campaign in New Orleans

In the same city he announced his bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency a little more than a year ago, John Edwards took himself out of the running Wednesday afternoon, less than a day after finishing third in the Florida primary.

At a press conference in New Orleans, Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, said he had spoken with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before his speech and that his former opponents for the party's bid pledged to make poverty alleviation a central theme of their campaigns.

Though he did not endorse either candidate, Edwards said he was confident that they would both focus on the goal of achieving economic equality.

"America's hour of transformation is upon us," Edwards said.

Kenneth Wald, a political science professor at UF, said he thinks Edwards chose Wednesday to drop out because he didn't have the resources to compete effectively on Tuesday, when 22 states will hold elections.

Wald said Edwards also probably realized that he was not going to be able to beat his opponents.

"His fundamental problem was that he was kind of crushed between the two juggernauts of Hillary Clinton, who has spent years preparing to run, and Senator Obama, who came out of nowhere," Wald said.

Because those who would have benefited from his emphasis on economic justice are the same people who tend not to participate in political life, Edwards had a difficult time getting votes, Wald said.

The question now is who, if anyone, Edwards will choose to support.

Smith said because Edwards' supporters are so die-hard, they will probably take their cues from the former senator.

Wald said even if Edwards does not make an endorsement, Clinton stands to gain the most.

Results from a late January poll by The Associated Press and Yahoo! News confirm his projection, showing that 40 percent of Edwards' supporters said their second choice was Clinton, while 25 percent said their second choice was Obama.

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Ben Cavataro, a first-year political science student and Edwards devotee, said he has not yet made up his mind about who he will support now. However, he said he is happy with the remaining Democratic options.

"I think that Edwards won't become president not because Edwards was weak, but because the whole field was strong," Cavataro said.

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