Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is reassessing his presidential campaign ahead of the next primary contest on April 4, his campaign says.
But the Vermont senator is not dropping out of the race, a claim the campaign had to squash after a flurry of Twitter activity Wednesday.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign.”
The statement comes a day after Sanders lost all three states competing on Tuesday – Arizona, Illinois and Florida. Former Vice President Joe Biden won those states overwhelmingly, winning every single county in Florida and almost all the counties in Illinois.
Several hours later, though, some reporters began tweeting that news site Axios was reporting Sanders was ending his presidential campaign. However, the article on the Axios site said the senator was suspending Facebook ads only.
Mike Casca, communications director for Sanders, said in a statement that “the tweet about an Axios ‘report’ is wrong.”
“He’s not suspending,” Casca continued. “Nothing has changed since this morning’s statement.”
Sanders does not have any active advertisements on Facebook and has not scheduled any TV ads after this past Tuesday, according to Advertising Analytics.
During the March 10 primaries, Sanders only won North Dakota and lost several states that he had won in 2016, including Washington and Michigan.
Last month, Sanders was seen as the front-runner, leading in national polling and delegates. However, Biden’s campaign was reenergized following his blowout win in South Carolina on Feb. 29. Since then, Biden has bested Sanders in many key primary states this month and has jumped to the lead in delegates.
Biden stole the race on Super Tuesday, where he swept the South and beat Sanders in states that the former vice president didn’t even campaign in. The wins shocked pundits as Biden was down in much of state polling ahead of those elections. Ahead of Super Tuesday, Biden was endorsed by former Democratic opponents Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Biden has 1,153 delegates while Sanders has 861.
Sanders will likely have a hard time moving forward to close the gap in delegates against Biden.
Shakir says that “in the immediate term,” Sanders is “focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
Biden is also trying to appeal to Sanders voters. In remarks Tuesday evening, the former vice president said the two “share a common vision” and that Sanders and his supporters have “shifted the fundamental conversation in this country.”
“Let me just say to the young voters who have been inspired by Sen. Sanders: I hear you. I know what’s at stake,” Biden said.
By Rebecca Morin [USA Today]