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Edwards Set to Drop Out Following Super Tuesday Losses

BY Admin  March 2, 2004 at 9:30 PM EDT

A Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity said, ”He’s stepping aside.” A second official said Edwards would drop out of the race on Wednesday from Raleigh, N.C.

Edwards lost to Kerry in Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut, though not all of the polls had closed.

Edwards spoke to his supporters Tuesday night, congratulating Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, for his victories in Tuesday’s elections.

“I want to congratulate my friend, Sen. John Kerry,” Edwards said. Edwards pointed to the similarities between Kerry and himself on their goals to improve the lives of ordinary American citizens.

Edwards also said that both he and Kerry proved pollsters and pundits wrong who said the two would have been out of the race by Super Tuesday.

Also in his speech to his supporters, Edwards continued to push the issues that have been driving his campaign.

He called President Bush “out of touch” and that “Come November he will be out of the White House, not just out of touch.”

Entering Super Tuesday with 205 delegates to his major rival Kerry’s 701, Edwards had been under pressure to win Georgia, and somewhere outside of the south.

“At some point, I’ve got to start getting more delegates or I’m not going to be the nominee,” Edwards said on Monday in Toledo, Ohio.

Kerry took an easy victory over Edwards in Ohio where Edwards had hoped to carry the Buckeye state in Tuesday’s election. Edwards spent his time leading up to the election delivering a tough trade message in Ohio, where 250,000 jobs have been lost since President Bush entered the office.

Experts had said that Ohio was Edwards’ last chance to prove himself as a viable candidate for the presidency. The North Carolina senator and former trial lawyer had targeted Georgia, Ohio and Minnesota to help save his candidacy.

Edwards’ only victory was in his home state, South Carolina, four weeks ago. Before Tuesday’s elections he has finished second — eight times, third — five times and fourth — six times.

Edwards, 50, used his modest childhood to convey that he understood the plight of ordinary Americans. He announced his candidacy Sept. 16 in front of the textile mill in Robbins, N.C. where his father had worked and where he had earned money for college sweeping floors and acting as a night watchman, the AP reported.

Edwards did not enter politics until his run as a senator in North Carolina in 1998, after earning millions as a trial lawyer.