The Bernie Sanders campaign released a statement saying the Vermont senator would “assess his campaign” in the wake of another disappointing primary night which saw Joe Biden further his delegate lead and all but secure his path to the nomination.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” Sanders Campaign Manager Faiz Shakir said. “In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
Shakir later emailed a message to reporters saying that Sanders and his wife would return to Vermont to “assess the path forward for our campaign.”
New: Sanders’ campaign manager emails note to supporters saying Bernie and Jane will go back to VT to “assess the path forward for our campaign.” pic.twitter.com/uJCjOURVEW
— Alexi McCammond (@alexi) March 18, 2020
The announcement comes after Joe Biden swept all three primaries on Tuesday, winning convincing victories in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois to widen his overall delegate lead by nearly 300 delegates, 1,147-861.
In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Biden made a pitch for Sanders voters, saying “I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do.”
“Our goal as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president, is to unify our party — and to unify our nation,” the former vice president declared.
Calls for Sanders to drop out of the race have increased since Super Tuesday, which saw Biden jump out to a commanding lead in the Democratic primary. President Trump tweeted Wednesday that “Bernie has given up, just like he did last time. He will be dropping out soon!”
The DNC will have gotten their fondest wish and defeated Bernie Sanders, far ahead of schedule. Now they are doing everything possible to be nice to him in order to keep his supporters. Bernie has given up, just like he did last time. He will be dropping out soon! MAGA/KAG
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
But so far, his close allies have resisted the notion.
“I want the senator to stay in,” Nina Turner, one of the campaign’s national co-chairs, said in an interview on Monday. “I think other voters have a right to have a choice. This is not a coronation. We know what happened last time in 2016 — it gave us Donald J. Trump.”
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Sanders aides and supporters want him to stay in the race all the way to the convention, in order to gain more delegates to leverage for progressive causes to be included in Biden’s platform for the general election.