The field for the Democratic presidential nominee narrowed even further Wednesday when billionaire Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race and endorsed Vice President Joe Biden, securing him droves of new supporters including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
”I am clear-eyed about our overriding objective and that is victory in November,” Bloomberg said at a news conference early Wednesday. “Not victory for me or our campaign but victory for our country.”
The former New York mayor self-funded his short lived campaign, pouring millions into a national advertising campaign — skipping four early states and putting a major focus on California — to boost his candidacy. Now, he’s throwing his weight behind Biden who is poised to face off with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Liccardo, who was the California chair for the Bloomberg campaign, said on social media that he supports his decision to drop out and will do whatever he can to help Biden.
“I support Mike’s decision to suspend his campaign,” Liccardo posted Wednesday on Facebook. “I also agree with his call for Democrats to unify behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who represents our best opportunity to overcome the toxic partisanship of our political discourse, and to rebuild global confidence in American leadership.”
The mayor vowed to do whatever he can to help Biden win in the next primaries and in November.
Biden received a whopping 433 delegates after Super Tuesday, a small but mighty lead over democratic socialist Sanders, who scored 388 delegates. The two frontrunners represent the clear divide between the Democratic establishment and the party’s populist wing.
Biden scored key endorsements from rising Democratic leaders, including former challengers Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, ahead of Super Tuesday’s momentous victory where he won ten crucial states including Texas and North Carolina.
Bloomberg placed third in California’s primary Tuesday, trailing behind Biden and Sanders. The wealthy businessman faced significant scrutiny during his bid, which included sexually suggestive remarks he’s made and allegations that his companies are hostile workplaces for women.
In a debate in Nevada last month, Bloomberg was hammered over those allegations but Liccardo reiterated his support.
Liccardo wasn’t the only California city leader to back Bloomberg’s White House bid, a decision that raised eyebrows here at home. Liccardo was joined by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in backing Bloomberg. They have not publicly stated whether they’re shifting their support.
In a tweet to Bloomberg on Wednesday, Biden expressed gratitude for his support.
“I can’t thank you enough for your support — and for your tireless work on everything from gun safety reform to climate change,” Biden wrote. “This race is bigger than candidates and bigger than politics. It’s about defeating Donald Trump, and with your help, we’re gonna do it.”
The next round of Democratic primaries begin Tuesday and include Michigan, Idaho and Washington.
Contact Nadia Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.