Some of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) biggest congressional supporters were eager to move on Wednesday, as the Sanders campaign picked itself up from a bruising Super Tuesday contest.
“This thing is not done,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We’ve got a vote in a week, and so I want to make sure that people don’t think that we don’t matter. We matter.”
On Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden rode a big South Carolina win into a stunning ten-state Super Tuesday rout. He ran up huge margins in Southern states, and clinched wins in states he wasn’t expected to be competitive in — including Maine and Massachusetts.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pointed attention to one of the few positive Sanders results from Tuesday: California.
“Bernie won the biggest prize of the night, so now we need to focus on moving forward,” she told TPM. Despite Sanders’ first-place finish in the state Tuesday, both Biden and Sanders netted substantial delegates (counting is still underway).
“One thing that we saw of course last night was the consolidation of this race really around two central candidates,” she added. “So now this race is decisively between Biden and Bernie.”
Ocasio-Cortez declined to say if Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) should drop out after her disappointing night, saying that in lieu of an “egregious scandal,” it’s not her place to tell a candidate when to suspend her campaign.
Warren did not win a state on Tuesday night and, in what must have been a particularly stinging finish, took third place in her home state of Massachusetts.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also declined to say if Warren should take her leave, and focused on her chosen candidate’s wins so far.
“He is somebody that people are gonna look back and say look how far he got with not following the same kind of formula that others had, that meant he would have to put people second,” she said. “He has never had to do that because he hasn’t sold his soul.”
Jayapal suggested that voters were opting for Biden because of his familiarity.
“Sometimes there’s a notion that something is safer just because we know the devil that is, but you know, that’s still the devil,” she said before quickly clarifying that she was not, in fact, likening Biden to the dark prince.
Tierney Sneed contributed reporting from Washington D.C.