LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t say Saturday whether he’s told any of the eight Democrats running for president to drop out of the race but said people should not count former Vice President Joe Biden out.
Biden had weak finishes in the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, two largely white states, but will do well in much more diverse Nevada, Reid predicted.
“Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the country. He’s going to do well in Nevada, he’s going to do extremely well in South Carolina. So, people should not be counting Joe Biden out of the race yet,” Reid said.
The longtime Nevada Democratic senator, who is credited with getting the Western state its early caucuses and place as the third state to weigh in on the race, spoke to reporters after casting an early vote Saturday.
While many of the Democratic White House hopefuls have reached out to him regularly and sought his advice, Reid wouldn’t say if he’s told any candidates they should drop out.
“The only advice I give anyone is if they call me. I’m as candid with them as I can be. And I don’t always tell them what they want to hear,” he said.
The former senator said candidates should not be forced out of the race and cited Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as an example of someone whose standing changed.
“People kept saying, ‘Why is she in the race?’” Reid said, adding that after two great debates, her poll numbers improved.
Reid said he thinks it’s possible but unlikely Democrats will have a brokered national convention in July, with no candidate securing the required delegate majority in advance.
Reid, who hasn’t endorsed in the race, said he marked his ballot as “uncommitted” rather than throw his support behind any candidate in particular because he has so many friends running for president.
He had no criticism of candidate and billionaire Mike Bloomberg for skipping the early states like Nevada to instead focus his campaign on states that vote on Super Tuesday.
“He was a good mayor. No one in the country—no one—has done more on guns and climate than Mayor Bloomberg. So I like Mayor Bloomberg a great deal,” Reid said.
The 80-year-old senator, in a wheelchair after undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and several back surgeries, received some applause from Democratic voters waiting in line to caucus as he entered the caucus site.
Nevada Democrats are offering four days of early caucus voting ahead of their Feb. 22 caucuses, which Reid said will be a “breath of fresh air” after the “debacle” with Iowa’s caucuses resulting from technology problems and reporting delays.