Sanders cancels trip to Mississippi, ceding south to Biden in Democratic presidential race

After losing 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday, Mr Bernie Sanders is redirecting his efforts toward Michigan, which holds its primary on March 10, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Mr Bernie Sanders cancelled a campaign trip to Mississippi scheduled for Friday (March 6) and will instead campaign in Michigan, an aide said on Thursday (March 5). The move means that Mr Sanders is effectively ceding votes in the South to Mr Joe Biden.

Mr Sanders was supposed to campaign on Friday with Mr Antar Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, who has endorsed the Vermont senator.

But, after losing 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday, Mr Sanders is redirecting his efforts towards Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

Mr Biden had particularly strong performances across the South on Super Tuesday, lifted by overwhelming support from black voters, and is expected to easily win Mississippi on Tuesday.

Mr Sanders won a surprise victory in the Michigan primary in 2016, and the state will be critical to his ability to catch up to Mr Biden, who overtook him in delegates after Super Tuesday.

When asked if he has a viable path to the nomination if he does not win Michigan, he said "every state is important". Mr Sanders said his campaign is increasing staff in Mississippi and that he would try to travel there, but added, "you can't go everywhere".

But Mr Sanders told reporters in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday morning that "Michigan is where we will spend a bit of our time", and that he planned to talk about Mr Biden's "disastrous" trade deals while campaigning in the state.

At a rally in Phoenix on Thursday night, Mr Sanders continued his attacks on the former vice-president's record, saying Mr Biden's voting history in the Senate would be a focus of his campaign as the race has narrowed to two contenders.

"It is possible to really contrast the views of the candidates," Mr Sanders said. "So that what's I'm going to do."

He went beyond his usual attack lines on Mr Biden's record on trade, support for the Iraq War and taking money from billionaires, hitting Mr Biden for backing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military policy that barred openly gay people from serving, and his defence of the Hyde Amendment, which barred the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.

"I am proud to tell you that I have a 100 per cent pro-choice voting record, which is somewhat different than Joe Biden's," he said.

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