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Buttigieg Suspends His Democratic Run For The Presidency

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was scheduled to be in Dallas last night, rallying voters before Super Tuesday. Instead, he flew home to Indiana and suspended his presidential campaign. NPR's Sam Gringlas was in Dallas and sends this postcard.

SAM GRINGLAS, BYLINE: The Main Street Garden Park in downtown Dallas was all set up for a big outdoor rally - port-a-potties, T-shirt vendors and a line of supporters pumped to see Pete Buttigieg. Then...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: If you haven't heard yet, the event is canceled. The mayor will be making remarks from South Bend headquarters at 8:30 p.m. tonight.

GRINGLAS: Volunteers and staff cried and hugged as the news trickled out that Pete Buttigieg was ending his campaign.

LISA MARSH: There was a lot of shock. We were like, is this a joke? You know, is this really happening? So a few of us went to go get drinks to commiserate together.

GRINGLAS: Lisa Marsh (ph) usually votes Republican. Now with a day left, she's trying to figure out who to support.

MARSH: I'm definitely not voting for Donald Trump. And so I'm hoping to see maybe a Biden-Buttigieg ticket.

GRINGLAS: Mary Davis (ph) voted early for Buttigieg and was trying to process the news.

MARY DAVIS: Oh, I'm heartbroken. I am absolutely heartbroken.

GRINGLAS: Davis says Buttigieg was probably the best shot to beat Donald Trump. She's worried about November, especially if Bernie Sanders is the nominee.

DAVIS: I mean, I'm 85. So how many more elections do I need to be frantic about? But I'm anxious.

GRINGLAS: Claudia Carol (ph) drove for two hours with her husband to be here. She says Buttigieg's kindness, calm demeanor and youth reminded her of another candidate.

CLAUDIA CAROL: He just was my favorite candidate since Obama.

GRINGLAS: For Alana Daniel (ph), who will turn 18 before November, the Buttigieg campaign felt bigger than politics. She identifies as LGBTQ and will vote for the first time this year.

ALANA DANIEL: Oh, my God. I cried the first time I saw him because it meant so much to see him go out and hug his husband and realize I'm not alone. You know, we're not alone.

GRINGLAS: Pete Buttigieg is out of the race, but Daniel says that feeling is something she'll never forget.

Sam Gringlas, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.