SAN FRANCISCO - With early results in Tuesday night, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s path to the White House may have disappeared with a weak showing in the 14 states that held primaries.
As of 10 p.m. EST, Bloomberg’s chief competitors for the Democratic Party's nomination to compete against President Donald Trump notched key wins. Former Vice President Joe Biden was sweeping the South with wins in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama. Senator Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont as well as Colorado. Still to call are big states such as Texas, with 228 delegates, and California, with 415 delegates, where Sanders was expected to do well.
Bloomberg won American Samoa, the U.S. territory, gaining five of its six delegates.
Reuters and other media reported that Bloomberg would consider dropping out of the race Wednesday.
In the past two months, Bloomberg’s path to the Democratic nomination has been the one to watch. A former Republican and independent, Bloomberg’s message has been that he is the one who can beat Trump in the general election, appealing to moderate and conservative Democrats.
Entering the race late, Bloomberg skipped the first four states, going straight to Super Tuesday, with 1,357 delegates at stake. He reportedly spent $600 million of his vast fortune on TV and social media campaign ads and built a staff seemingly overnight on the ground in each state. He tapped into local mayors and community groups for his support.
That may not have been enough.
For his part, Bloomberg put a positive spin on his Super Tuesday results.
“I have no intention of dropping out,” he said at an event in Florida. “We're in it to win it. I don't understand why you would not ask other candidates that."
First-time voters appear to support Sanders, according to an NBC News exit poll. Late-deciding voters may be another factor in Biden's favor, with nearly half of late-deciding voters breaking for the former vice president.
There are also many voters in Super Tuesday states who voted for former candidates, such as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both of whom endorsed Biden after dropping out of the race earlier this week.
Like a lot of people, Soham Bhatia, who works at an educational nonprofit organization in Oakland, has divided loyalties. Wearing a "CA for Mike" shirt in support of Bloomberg and a "Team Joe" sticker for Biden, Bhatia went to a cafe in Oakland Tuesday to see Biden, who was making a campaign appearance.
“I voted for Mike Bloomberg,” he said. “I got all my friends to vote for Mike Bloomberg. We voted early. It looked like Biden would not get his stuff together. And then he did. Now it’s time to unite behind Joe Biden.”
Bhatia still supports Bloomberg, though, hoping the former New York mayor plays a role in the Democratic convention in Milwaukee this summer.
“He gambled, he did something very interesting, and he should be commended for that,” he said.