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Michael Bloomberg wants a brokered convention. Did Super Tuesday help or hurt him?

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg told the Deseret News that he has a strategy to win Democratic nomination

SHARE Michael Bloomberg wants a brokered convention. Did Super Tuesday help or hurt him?
Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Little Havana, a neighborhood in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Little Havana, a neighborhood in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday he doesn’t care if he leaves Super Tuesday as a front-runner. He just wants to rack up delegates and create a brokered convention, he revealed Tuesday in an interview with the Deseret News.

Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson spoke with Bloomberg about his Super Tuesday hopes. When asked what winning looked like, Bloomberg said:

“You’re not going to get the most delegates, I think that’s clear. But you want a respectable finish where you get delegates in lots of states. Our strategy is to get to the convention with nobody having a majority. Then all the delegates free and they start thinking, ‘OK, who can beat Donald Trump and who can run the country?’ That’s where we will make our case. We’ve been trying to do that all across the country.”

Bloomberg’s only win on the night was in American Samoa, where he had 49.9% of the vote, according to NBC News. That will likely earn him five of the six delegates for the U.S. territory. He was expected to have at least two dozen delegates by the end of the night and was in second place behind Sanders in California in early results.

By the end of the night Tuesday, a person close to the Bloomberg campaign told the Associated Press that the candidate will reassess on Wednesday what’s next for the campaign.

Candidates need 1,991 of the 3,979 delegates on the first vote to win the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. There are 1,344 delegates up for grabs today, which accounts for 34% of all delegates.

A brokered convention happens when a political party fails to nominate a candidate on the first ballot, which hasn’t occurred in the United States since 1968. “Delegates then keep voting until a nominee is picked. In between votes, horse trading and negotiating may go on behind the scenes, with candidates promising each other the vice presidency or another job in exchange for dropping out,” according to The New York Times.


Politico previously reported that Bloomberg has quietly been seeking a brokered convention as a way to stop Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by taking votes from former VIce President Joe Biden and other moderate candidates. He said at a town hall event Monday night that he expected “horse trading” and “compromise” at a convention, per Fox News.

In Utah, Bloomberg was polling at 19% last week, which was just behind Sanders, who recorded 29%, according to the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll. FiveThirtyEight projects Bloomberg will receive hundreds of delegates on Super Tuesday (including about two in Utah). He was 19% when early votes came in to Utah.

Elizabeth Warren struggled

  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s team told the Associated Press that she wants to fight for a contested convention, which is one reason why she hasn’t dropped out of the presidential race. She had a difficult night, failing to win her home state of Massachusetts, which went to Biden with Sanders finishing second.

Why it matters

  • Calling for a brokered convention isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility in the 2020 presidential primary since there’s currently a “double-spoiler” going on within the party.
  • To happen, votes will be split between Sanders and Warren. But Sanders has all the momentum here. For moderates, votes will be divided among Biden and Bloomberg, who has the money to stay in the race as long as he wishes. Biden clearly has the momentum coming off of Super Tuesday. These split votes will stop any one candidate from receiving enough delegates to win on the first ballot in the conventions, which could lead to a contested convention.