MIAMI — Michael Bloomberg acknowledged Tuesday that his only path to the nomination is through a contested convention but insisted that he was staying in the race.
During a testy exchange with the press corps following him while he campaigns in Florida, Bloomberg said he was “in it to win it” and rejected the idea that his presence in the race was helping Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.
Reporters pointed out to Bloomberg that other moderate candidates, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, have dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden to consolidate the anti-Sanders vote, and asked if he would do the same.
“Joe’s taking votes away from me,” a visibly irritated Bloomberg said. “Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out?”
“I have no intention of dropping out,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg was appearing at a campaign field office in Miami where he was introduced by former mayor Manny Diaz. Though Florida doesn’t vote until March 17, Bloomberg is spending the day here campaigning while the Super Tuesday states hold primaries. Bloomberg has built his strategy around Super Tuesday, in which 14 states and one US territory are voting, after skipping the first four states on the calendar. Though Bloomberg has polled fairly well in many of the states voting Tuesday, he’s faced increased pressure to drop out of the race as the Democratic establishment has united around Biden, who won South Carolina last weekend.
“I don’t know why that’s the case,” Bloomberg said when a reporter asked him about criticism that his presence in the race is helping Sanders secure the nomination. “Miss, are you gonna ask a question or give a lecture?” Bloomberg said before relenting and responding to the questions. “I think that I know how to beat Donald Trump. I think I know how to run this country, I’ve been practicing that for a lot of years.”
Asked what states he expects to win Tuesday, Bloomberg said, "I don't know whether you're gonna win any. You don't have to win states, you have to win delegates."
When a reporter asked him if he wants the primary to go into a contested convention, he said, "I don't think that I can win any other ways."
"A contested convention is a democratic process. There are rules in the Democratic Party about how you go about this, and I did see Bernie Sanders said all of a sudden he didn't want to follow the rules." Bloomberg said. "I find it offensive that Bernie Sanders, who, the last time he ran, was in favor of that kind of a convention and now he's opposed to it."