Sanders: Establishment pressed Buttigieg, Klobuchar to exit race

Senator thinks meddling cost him wins in three states

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Sen. Bernie Sanders in Dearborn, Michigan on March 7, 2020
Sen. Bernie Sanders in Dearborn, Michigan on March 7, 2020
(Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 9, 2020 - 4:34pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders believes that the Democratic establishment pressured former presidential primary rivals Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar to exit the race ahead of Super Tuesday — costing him much needed delegates in the race for the party nomination.

Sanders, a Vermont Independent running on the Democratic ticket, suggested Sunday that their sudden exit before Tuesday’s balloting cost him wins in three states. 

Voters in 14 states went to the polls on Super Tuesday. Sanders won four states, and surging former Vice President Joe Biden won 10. 

“The establishment put a great deal of pressure on Pete Buttigieg, on Amy Klobuchar, who ran really aggressive campaigns,” Sanders said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I suspect we would’ve won in Minnesota. We would’ve won in Maine. We would’ve won in Massachusetts. The turnout may have been a little bit different.” 

Klobuchar and Buttigieg, a former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, also endorsed Biden ahead of Super Tuesday. In addition, former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke endorsed Biden before Tuesday, which was followed by his surprise win in that state. 

Sanders won in California, Colorado, Utah and Vermont, while Biden won the remaining states.

Biden currently leads in the unofficial delegate count with 664, while Sanders trails with 573.

The senator and supporters have argued that Washington Democrats also worked against him in his failed bid to win the party’s 2016 nomination against Hillary Clinton, pointing in part to debates that appeared to have worked in favor of the former first lady.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren exited Democratic primary after poor Super Tuesday performances. 

Bloomberg threw his support behind Biden, but Warren has yet to announce an endorsement.

Voters go to the polls Tuesday in six states, including key swing state Michigan. 

Sanders and Biden appear to be the only remaining candidates with a chance to win the nomination and face incumbent Republican President Trump.