With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning Sunday were fixated on a rival who wasn’t contesting the state.
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg all targeted billionaire Mike Bloomberg, accusing him of buying his way into the election and making clear they were eager to take him on in a debate.
“He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders said of the former New York mayor at a rally in Carson City, Nevada. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg — the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections!”
Their attacks are a sign of how seriously the field is starting to take Bloomberg as he gains traction in the race and is on the cusp of qualifying for Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Bloomberg has bypassed the traditional early voting states including Nevada, focusing instead on the 14 states that vote in the Super Tuesday primary on March 3.
He has spent more than $417 million of his own multibillion-dollar fortune on advertising nationwide, an unprecedented sum for any candidate in a primary.
The focus on Bloomberg comes amid anxiety among many establishment-aligned Democrats over the early strength of Sanders, who won last week’s New Hampshire primary and essentially tied for first place in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
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