Bloomberg downplays Super Tuesday chances after record spending: ‘I have no expectations’
But the former New York City mayor and billionaire business and media mogul readily admits that the only way he can capture the nomination is through a contested convention. Speaking to reporters in Miami as voting got underway in 14 states from coast to coast on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg said he has “no expectations” on how he’ll perform as his name’s on the ballot for the first time, despite a record investment in ads and staff from his own bank account.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, took jabs at 2020 front-runner and self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying during a stop at his campaign field office in Miami’s Little Havana that “we will not win Florida with a candidate who sings the praises of Fidel Castro.”
The race remains as unsettled as ever. On the eve of Super Tuesday – when a third of all Democratic presidential nomination delegates are up for grabs – former Vice President Joe Biden won the endorsements of two fellow centrist rivals who had ended White House bids hours earlier – former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
The consolidation of moderate Democrats behind Biden started after the former vice president’s landslide victory Saturday in South Carolina’s primary over Sanders and the rest of the Democratic field.
Biden – who nearly pulled even the independent lawmaker from Vermont in the delegate hunt after South Carolina – is aiming to prevent Sanders from capturing a large lead in the crucial battle for convention delegates. And Biden’s goal is to firmly cement his status as the moderate alternative to Sanders.
But Biden’s mission is also shared by Bloomberg, who’s poured more than a half-billion dollars of his own money into his campaign since announcing his candidacy in late November.
Bloomberg – who’s on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday after skipping the four early voting states to concentrate his time and resources on the delegate-rich states that vote in March and April – declared once again that “I have no intention of dropping out. We’re in it to win it. I don’t understand why you would not ask other candidates that.”
Asked about his expectations for capturing delegates on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg said “I have no expectations for today. We will have a decent number of delegates. We’ve been working at this for 10 weeks.”
And Bloomberg pushed back against the conventional wisdom that by staying in the race he would take votes away from Biden, which could benefit Sanders. Bloomberg argued that “Joe’s taking votes away from me.”
He also acknowledged that the possibility of a contested Democratic nominating convention in July in Milwaukee is his only pathway to becoming the party’s standard-bearer, saying “I don’t think I can win any other way.”
Later, at his Little Havana stop, he targeted Sanders for the senator’s past controversial praise of improved health care and education in communist Cuba under Fidel Castro.
Cuban-American leaders from both parties, including Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have criticized those comments.
“I know the senator’s comments are hurtful and offensive,” Bloomberg said as he jabbed Sanders. He added that such language “will be toxic for Democrats up and down the ballot in November” if Sanders is the party’s nominee.
Sanders, voting earlier Tuesday morning in his hometown of Burlington, Vt., acknowledged that “today is obviously a very, very important day. And we look forward to doing well.”
Bloomberg also needled another rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The progressive lawmaker from Massachusetts – who’s seen her once favorable odds for winning the nomination wane in recent months – has been a very vocal critic of Bloomberg in recent weeks.
Bloomberg told a CNN reporter on Tuesday: “I didn’t realize she’s still in. Is she?”
Fox News’ Andrew Craft contributed to this report.