Biden Team Sees No Path for Sanders to Win: Campaign Update

Ryan Teague Beckwith and Jennifer Epstein
Biden Team Sees No Path for Sanders to Win: Campaign Update

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden’s campaign said it would be “nearly impossible” for Bernie Sanders to make up his shortfall in delegates in the remaining months of the Democratic primary calendar.

“Should our broad base of support remain — and we have seen no signs that would indicate otherwise — it will be nearly impossible for Sanders to recoup his current delegate disadvantage,” the Biden campaign said in a memo that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Even though more than half of all the pledged delegates have yet to be decided, the math is not in Sanders’s favor. The count from a series of races Tuesday was incomplete as of Wednesday evening, but the Biden campaign expects the candidate to have a lead of about 160 delegates over Sanders going into next week’s primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio -- states where he is also expected to reap the majority of delegates.

The memo argues there’s no way for Sanders to clinch the nomination if the same kind of voters who have turned out for Biden continue to do so. The only upcoming state where Sanders leads in public polling is Oregon, which awards 61 delegates, not enough to help him gain enough ground.

Biden’s Florida, Illinois Events to Be Virtual (4:56 p.m.)

Joe Biden’s campaign took a further step away from contact with voters Wednesday, saying that his next few scheduled events would be held remotely out of concerns for the spread of coronavirus.

The campaign had scheduled events in Illinois and Florida on Friday and Monday. The two states are the biggest delegate prizes in next Tuesday’s quartet of primaries, but state officials requested the campaign not hold rallies where people would be gathered together.

Biden also formed a Public Health Advisory Committee for his campaign to provide “science-based, expert advice” on how the campaign should reduce health risks to the 77-year-old former vice president, his staff and supporters from the virus.

Trying to exhibit a contrast with President Donald Trump’s approach, Biden is scheduled to deliver an address on Thursday about the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday.

Biden’s advisory committee includes prominent names including Homeland Security advisor Lisa Monaco, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, as well as Zeke Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler. -- Emma Kinery

Sanders Will Stay in Presidential Race (1:23 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders vowed to keep up his quest for the Democratic nomination for president at least until a debate on Sunday, despite a series of stinging defeats that left him no clear path to overcoming Joe Biden’s lead.

Sanders’s move came the day after he lost four states to the former vice president, including Michigan, where he had hoped to anchor a comeback.

The one-time front-runner lost across regions and demographic groups, failing to gather the diverse coalition necessary to lead the party.

“On Sunday I am very much looking forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend Joe Biden,” he told reporters in Vermont, saying that defeating President Donald Trump was his ultimate goal. “The American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal.” -- Tyler Pager

Biden Super PAC Says Primary Is ‘Over’ (12:31 p.m.)

A pro-Joe Biden super PAC declared the Democratic primary essentially “over” after Tuesday’s primaries.

In a memo to supporters released Wednesday, Unite the Country announced it had secured tens of millions of dollars in donations and commitments since the former vice president won South Carolina and started racking up wins in primaries across the country.

“Last night’s results made one thing clear: the functional primary phase of this election is over,” the memo said. “With last night’s wins, and states like Florida, Illinois, and Ohio that will vote on March 17th, Joe Biden’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders will be equal to, and possibly even higher than, Hillary Clinton’s at the same stage of the election.”

The group said it has raised nearly $10 million in the past 10 days and had three times that much committed. It said it would keep working to ensure that Biden accrues a majority of all pledged delegates to the nominating convention. -- Jennifer Epstein

Latinos in Florida Wary of Sanders’s Socialism (10:27 a.m.)

Bernie Sanders’s brand of democratic socialism is hurting him among Florida Latinos, who favor Joe Biden in the March 17 primary by double digits in a recent poll.

But even if Sanders were to win the nomination, he might lose these voters to Donald Trump, according to a Telemundo survey conducted by Mason-Dixon.

In the poll, 48% of Latinos in Florida backed Biden, while only 37% supported Sanders in the primary. In a Trump-Sanders contest, 45% said they would vote for Trump and 44% said they would back Sanders. By comparison, in a Trump-Biden contest, 58% said they would back Biden and 38% said they would vote for Trump.

Sanders has done well among Latino voters in other states, but Florida immigrants who fled Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba tend to view socialism negatively, according to Democratic analysts there.

The survey of 1,250 Hispanic likely voters in Florida and Arizona was conducted March 4-7. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Coming Up

Guam will hold a convention on March 14, Northern Mariana will hold a caucus on March 14-15.

Democratic candidates debate again on March 15 in Phoenix.

Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio will hold primaries on March 17.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, also sought the Democratic presidential nomination. He endorsed Joe Biden on March 4.)

--With assistance from Jennifer Epstein, Tyler Pager and Emma Kinery.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington, D.C. at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net;Jennifer Epstein in Washington at jepstein32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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