Sanders stays in race, acknowledges nomination bid slipping away

Sanders to stay at least long enough to debate Biden, ask him, 'Joe, what are you gonna do?' about key progressive issues

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
(Win McNamee / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 11, 2020 - 2:06pm

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that he’ll remain in the race but acknowledged that his bid for the party nomination is slipping away. 

“While we have won the ideological debate, we are losing the electability debate,” Sanders said from his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, the morning after a disappointing primary showing in six state.  

The Vermont Independent and democratic-socialist made clear he’ll stay in the race at least long enough to debate now-frontrunner Joe Biden on Sunday in Arizona, vowing to ask, “Joe, what are you going to do?” about the issues important to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party that he represents. Among those issues are climate change and affordable health care. 

Sander spoke for about five minutes and did not take questions from reporters.

The senator took an early lead in the primary race – winning in two of the first three states that held contests. However, Biden's win the fourth contest, the South Carolina primary, was followed up by the former vice president's huge comeback on Super Tuesday that has essentially closed Sanders' path to the nomination.

Biden leads in the unofficial delegate count 837, to 689 for Sanders, with 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination before this summer's convention.

Sanders lost his 2016 nomination bid to Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, he was defeated by Biden in Michigan, a state he won in the last cycle that kept his bid alive.