As contentious as the 2020 Democratic presidential primary has been so far, the contest could end up being fought all the way to the convention, according to statements made by two candidates: Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen.Elizabeth Warren.
In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Bloomberg said that he "absolutely" would stay in the primary race, even if behind in the delegate count, so long as he had a "chance of winning."
"Why would I spend all of this money, all of this time out of my life, and wear and tear, you know, which I love — incidentally, (it) reminds me of my three campaigns in New York for mayor, which I did like," Bloomberg told the network. "The difference here is I've got to fly from event to event where there I used to drive from event to event. But yeah sure, I love it, I am going to stay right to the bitter end, as long as I have a chance."
Similarly, at a Thursday CNN town hall, Warren made a similar pledge, saying that she planned to lobby superdelegates if there's no outright winner after the convention's first vote.
"To be clear, would you continue your fight for the Democratic nomination even if another candidate arrived at the convention ahead of you in the delegate count?," CNN's Don Lemon asked the Massachusetts Democrat during a portion of the town hall discussing the convention.
"Yes," she answered, according to the network.
When asked why, she said "Because a lot of people made $5 contributions to my campaign to keep me in it.
"As long as they want me to stay in this race, I'm staying in this race," she later told Lemon. "That, and I've done a lot of pinkie promises out there. So I've got to stay in this. I told little girls we persist."
After the bitter 2016 primary fight between Sanders and eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party officials changed the convention rules in 2018 to give "superdelegates" — who are free to support whichever candidate of they choose — less influence in the nomination process. Under the new rules, the superdelegates cannot vote on the first ballot at the convention. Which means, that a lot of the decision will shift to them if none of the candidates can garner a majority of pledged delegates before the convention, which could make things fairly chaotic.
If the superdelegates get to vote this time around, that could very bad news for Sanders' nomination prospects. A New York Times report published Thursday interviewed 93 superdelegates "and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority."
Of course, at this point, talk of an intra-party convention fight is all speculation. It's still early in the process and Sanders — the current front-runner — may very well end up getting a majority of delegates before the primaries are over, which would make Warren's and Bloomberg's pledges moot. Still, the prospect of a contentious convention showdown in Milwaukee could definitely make things far more interesting as time draws nearer to election day in November.