Edwards announced that he is “suspending” his presidential campaign and pledged his full support of Kerry.
“I will do everything within my power to see him elected president,” Edwards said to supporters. “And I ask you to join me in this cause.”
Edwards said Kerry’s military and political career have proven that he is prepared for the presidential race.
“The truth of the matter is John Kerry has what it takes; he has what it takes in here,” Edwards added, pointing to his heart.
Kerry won nine out of ten Super Tuesday elections, besting Edwards in every contest. Vermont’s former Gov. Howard Dean, who stopped actively campaigning last month, handily won his home state, defeating Kerry. Edwards’ name did not appear on the ballot in Vermont.
Edwards’ only primary victory came in his native state of South Carolina on Feb. 3. Before Tuesday’s elections, he had managed eight second-place finishes, five third places and six fourth-place finishes.
In his speech on Wednesday Edwards reiterated his message of hope and security for the poor and working class and said that Kerry would fight for the same causes.
During the campaign Edwards often spoke of “two Americas,” one for the wealthy and one for the working class. He often invoked his own background as the son of a millworker in an attempt to connect to voters. Edwards has said that the Democratic Party offers the best hope of equality for the poor.
Many political observers believe Edwards is now a candidate for the vice presidential slot on the Democratic ticket.
Edwards’ advisers reportedly said Wednesday that he would not reject an offer from Kerry to become the vice presidential candidate.
Edwards, currently the senior senator from North Carolina, has said he will not run for reelection to the Senate. Before he was elected to the Senate in 1998, Edwards was a successful trial lawyer.