Nevada caucus results keep Michael Bloomberg in a tougher spot in his quest to become the preferred centrist alternative to Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential election, with rival candidates unwilling to bow out of the race.
Bernie Sanders decisively won the caucuses with 44.6% of the vote and 4% of precincts reporting, while former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden were battling for second place.
The former New York mayor decided to skip the first four nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, opting instead to use his $63.7 billion fortune to create a massive national campaign that targets nominating delegate-rich states voting on March 3 and beyond.
But results in early states reshaping the field are already affecting Bloomberg’s campaign strategy. An internal campaign memo released this week warned that Sanders is poised to amass an “insurmountable” delegate lead on Super Tuesday that would be “impossible to stop” unless other more centrist candidates, such as Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar, drop out of the race.
After Nevada, Klobuchar could face the most pressure to drop out, since she was unable to maintain the momentum from her third-place New Hampshire finish into Nevada, posting in single digits. But she indicated on Sunday that she plans to stay in the race through Super Tuesday. Buttigieg reshaped his campaign message on Saturday with sharper attacks against Sanders, and Biden is hoping to win upcoming nominating contests where he enjoys high support from black voters.
Bloomberg increased his attacks on Sanders over the last week and renewed them following Nevada’s results.
“The Nevada results reinforce the reality that this fragmented field is putting Bernie Sanders on pace to amass an insurmountable delegate lead,” Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement. “This is a candidate who just declared war on the so-called ‘Democratic establishment.’ We are going to need independents AND Republicans to defeat Trump — attacking your own party is no way to get started. As Mike says, if we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base — like Sen. Sanders — it will be a fatal error.”
“The best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses,” Bloomberg said of Sanders in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate.
Following news reports that Russia is attempting to assist Sanders in his quest to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Bloomberg’s campaign tweeted “feel the burn” in Russian.
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