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Bloomberg drops out, backs Biden in Democratic presidential race

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Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and said he was backing Joe Biden for the Democratic Party's nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in the November election.

[NEW YORK] Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday and said he was backing Joe Biden for the Democratic Party's nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in the November election.

"A viable path to the nomination no longer exists," Mr Bloomberg said in a statement, having failed to deliver convincing wins in his electoral debut on Super Tuesday despite lavish spending on campaign ads across the United States.

Endorsing Mr Biden, Bloomberg said: "I will work to make him the next president of the United States."

His exit ended a novel electoral strategy, a vast experiment in political advertising, as Bloomberg, 78, skipped the four early-voting states and instead focused on the 14-state Super Tuesday contest.

His only victory on Tuesday came in the US territory of American Samoa.

Mr Biden, 77, the former vice president, accomplished his Super Tuesday goal of muscling Mr Bloomberg aside and consolidating support of moderates to turn the race into a one-on-one contest against the democratic socialist, US Senator Bernie Sanders.

Mr Bloomberg was winning more than 15 per cent of the vote, enough to pick up some delegates, in Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Utah, California and Arkansas.

Since entering the race on Nov 24, Mr Bloomberg spent more than US$500 million of the fortune he built on his eponymous media company on an ad campaign that vaulted him into the top tier of the Democratic field.

After blanketing the airwaves with promises that he could defeat the Republican Trump in the Nov 3 election, his support among Democrats and independents in public opinion polls rose to around 15 per cent from about 5 per cent when he entered.

He hired thousands of staff and mounted a vigorous national tour focused on the 14 states that voted on March 3.

But Mr Bloomberg was dogged along the way by criticism over his past support of policies seen as racially discriminatory, including stop-and-frisk policing, which ensnared a disproportionate number of African-Americans and Latinos, as well as past sexist remarks.

 US Senator Elizabeth Warren is meeting with aides to reassess the state of her presidential bid, according to sources close to the campaign.

The Massachusetts senator fell short on Super Tuesday, even coming in third in her home state.

BLOOMBERG