Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election, having reportedly delivered the news to his team on an all-staff conference call. His announcement comes after three primary wins by de facto presumptive nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, March 17, with victories in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
On Wednesday morning, NBC News reported Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, still talking about preparing for the next spate of primaries and careful not to say the campaign was coming to an end at that time.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Senator Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” he said.
Shakir added that in the very short term, Sanders would be focusing on the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. The growing pandemic has already affected one of the states that was scheduled to hold primary elections on Tuesday night. Ohio postponed voting, a precaution in line with Governor Mike DeWine’s efforts to “flatten the curve,” a term indicating an attempt to reduce the disease’s transmission rate. Had Ohio not postponed, the landscape would have likely been worse for Sanders. The state has tentatively rescheduled the Democratic primary for June 2, and Joe Biden currently holds an average 22.5-point lead across most polls, according to Real Clear Politics.
Several factors have likely played into Sanders deciding it was time to suspend his campaign. As The Inquisitr reported previously, the latest debate didn’t move the needle much in terms of swaying supporters. Another factor was Biden’s commanding lead in delegates after his March 17 victories.
The former vice president led the race for delegates 1,132-817 the morning after the most recent round of voting. Even if Senator Sanders had made a clean sweep of the next set of primaries, they are all in smaller states with a handful of delegates each. While he might have been able to gain new momentum from those races, the road to overcoming Joe Biden had become near impossible.
FiveThirtyEight recently updated its projections, giving Biden a 99 percent chance of winning the Democratic nomination. The site also predicted Biden would reach a majority of pledged delegates by May 19, assuming no more electoral delays.
The field of candidates gunning for the Democratic Party’s nomination was once greater than two dozen, though all but 11 withdrew from the race before primary season. Tuesday’s primary ballots still featured the likes of Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.