Sen. Elizabeth Warren came to Seattle early and often, drawing more than 22,000 people at two public rallies in the city, according to her presidential campaign. She hired dozens of paid staff members in Washington, opening campaign offices here before any other presidential campaign.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg arrived later, but dropped a fortune in the state. He opened seven offices in Washington and hired 50 paid staff members. He bought millions of dollars of television, radio and digital ads in Washington, as he outspent every other candidate combined on local television advertising.
It was all for naught. Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday morning and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, after failing to win a single one of the 14 state primaries on Tuesday (although he did win American Samoa). He leaves the race a week before Washington’s March 10 presidential primary. On Wednesday, his Seattle campaign office in Pioneer Square was locked and empty, with campaign signs still adorning the windows and empty tables for phone banks visible inside.
“I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. Not for me, but for our country,” Bloomberg said, promising to work to elect Biden, who is neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination. “And so while I will not be the nominee, I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life.”
Warren dropped out of the race on Thursday. She also didn’t win a single Super Tuesday primary, failing to finish better than third in any contest, including in her home state of Massachusetts.
“I may not be in the race for President in 2020, but this fight—our fight—is not over,” Warren told campaign staff Thursday. “Sure, the fight may take a new form, but I will be in that fight, and I want you in this fight with me. We will persist.”
There was no immediate indication that she would endorse either Sanders or Biden. Sanders who, with Warren, made up the “progressive wing” of the major presidential candidates, said he spoke to Warren on Wednesday and said it was important to give her time to make a decision.
Sanders, who has staff and offices in Washington, recently drew 17,000 supporters to the Tacoma Dome, according to his campaign, and also recently began buying TV ads here. Biden has opened no offices here, relying on name identification and endorsements instead of any significant on-the-ground organizing presence in Washington. He has not held a public event here ahead of the primary and announced plans to be in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi through Monday.
Just a few days ago, hopes were much higher among the Warren faithful. Her campaign bought TV ad time in Washington through the primary. They launched more than 200 canvasses across Washington last weekend, to try to reach voters face-to-face before the primary.
About three dozen people showed up at noon Saturday in Ballard for the second of four shifts to knock on doors for Warren, one of several locations throughout the city. The volunteers, mostly women, talked about being inspired by Warren’s knowledge, tenacity and attention to detail.
“When you hear her speak, spend time at events, you actually see her taking in information and her concentration changing based on what’s transpiring in the conversation,” said Renee Duncan, of Ballard.
“We loved her policies right off the bat,” Duncan said. “And, you know, I am 61 years old and before I die I would love to see a woman in the office.”
Gale Picker, 69, traveled to Iowa and Nevada to volunteer for Warren. For weeks, she set up a table for Warren at the Ballard Sunday Market.
Before door-knocking on Saturday, she touted Warren as the candidate with the most in-depth understanding of how the country’s financial system works, allowing some to prosper while exacerbating “inequalities that are fraying our democracy.”
On Wednesday, after the Super Tuesday defeats, Picker was disappointed and frustrated. She wasn’t too enthusiastic about supporting either Biden or Sanders, but said Warren’s endorsement, if one comes, would be key to her thinking.
“Everybody from The New York Times on down says she would be the best president,” Picker said. “Everywhere I canvassed, Nevada, Iowa, here, people would say ‘oh, well she’s certainly the smartest.'”
“I don’t get something about where we, as a country, we lack courage, or get lost in male dominance.”
Staff reporter Jim Brunner contributed to this report.