Bloomberg says he will run 'right to the bitter end' if nomination not locked up

Allan Smith

Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg said Thursday he will stay in the presidential race "right to the bitter end" as long as he's got a chance at winning the nomination.

In an interview with NBC News' Kasie Hunt, Bloomberg said "as long as you have a chance of winning," he would "absolutely" stay in the race.

"Why would I spend all of this money, all of this time out of my life, and wear and tear, you know, which I love — incidentally, (it) reminds me of my three campaigns in New York for mayor, which I did like," he told Hunt, the host of "KasieDC." "The difference here is I've got to fly from event to event where there I used to drive from event to event. But yeah sure, I love it, I am going to stay right to the bitter end, as long as I have a chance."

Bloomberg said that if Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hit the delegate threshold to secure a majority ahead of the Democratic National Convention this summer, then he would not continue his presidential bid. If Sanders had amassed only a plurality, however, Bloomberg says he will keep pressing forward.

"I mean, if it was one vote away from a majority, then you'd have to start thinking about (getting out)," Bloomberg said. "But yeah, if it's just a plurality, you got to be in it to win it. Anybody that goes in, yeah, I'm running a race, and I'm behind with one lap to go. What, am I going to quit? No, you run harder."

Bloomberg bypassed the first four voting states and is first appearing on the ballot in the Super Tuesday elections. The media mogul is polling third nationally in the Democratic primary, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Bloomberg's comments come after, during last week's debate, Sanders was the only candidate who said whoever has the most delegates entering the convention, even if it is not a majority, should be the nominee. It was a reversal of Sanders' position in 2016 when he ran against that year's eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at a CNN town hall on Wednesday, Bloomberg said he would support the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is "because the alternative is Donald Trump — and that, we don't want."

He added that he is committed to keeping his campaign offices across the country open through the election, and that whoever the nominee is will be able to use them. After Tuesday's debate, a top Sanders adviser said he would reject an offer of Bloomberg's financial help should the Vermont independent become the nominee.