Pelosi Says Sanders Shouldn’t Drop out of 2020 Race

March 13, 2020 Updated: March 13, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that she doesn’t want to see Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) drop out of the 2020 presidential race, despite the democratic presidential candidate’s recent losses to former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Pelosi made the comments at the Capitol on Thursday, a day after she said she would be comfortable with Sanders as the Democratic presidential nominee ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“In case you were going to ask, no, I don’t think Bernie Sanders should get out of the race. I think—I’m a grassroots person,” Pelosi told reporters. “I know the enthusiasm of supporters for candidates and they want to see it play out for the ideas, the causes that the candidates advances, for the opportunity for people to show their support.”

The congresswoman said she was looking forward to Sunday’s debate, where the two Democratic candidates will face each other without a live audience amid coronavirus fears.

“I congratulate both of the candidates as they go into debate on Sunday. I wish them both well,” Pelosi added. 

When asked on Wednesday morning if she would be comfortable with Sanders as the Democratic presidential nominee, Pelosi said, “Yes.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday expressed a similar position over Sanders potentially securing nomination to face President Donald Trump in November, The Hill reported.

“Look, the bottom line is very simple,” Schumer said. “We have a lot of strong nominees. … I’m not supporting one over the other, but I think every one of them will beat President Trump.”

Pelosi’s comments came as Biden announced he had hired Jen O’Malley Dillon, a veteran of Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s White House bids, as his Democratic presidential campaign manager. Biden hopes the campaign leadership shakeup will help close out the Democratic primary against Sanders.

Earlier this week, Sanders fell behind in the Democratic primary race against rival Biden, with losses in Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, and the battleground state of Michigan—a state he won against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Sanders won North Dakota on Tuesday.

The elections in the six states marked the first time voters weighed in since the contest narrowed to a two-person race on Super Tuesday, when Biden’s campaign made a dramatic comeback after underwhelming performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Sanders didn’t make a public statement after his losses when he returned home to Vermont late Tuesday, a departure from his usual practice on primary nights. The senator wrote on Twitter in the early evening expressing concerns of voter suppression.

“At a time when Democrats correctly attack Republicans for voter suppression, to see voters standing in long lines for hours in Michigan and around America is an outrage,” Sanders wrote.

Tuesdays results compound the lead Biden secured on Super Tuesday the week before. The candidates now head to the March 17 primary contests in the populous states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Georgia. Polling averages tallied by Real Clear Politics suggest Biden is the clear favorite in Florida and Georgia. 

Biden has secured 847 delegates to the national convention, compared with Sanders’s 685. An additional 682 delegates are on the line on March 17. Either candidate can secure an outright victory before the convention by winning 1,911 delegates.

Sanders vowed to concede if Biden had more delegates by the time of the Democratic national convention in July. He also promised not to drop out regardless of the results on March 10.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.