Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a fervent supporter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid, thinks just three candidates will last long enough to compete for Wisconsin primary voters on April 7.
Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, said besides Sanders — a self-described democratic socialist — he expects businessman and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will survive the trials of upcoming primaries and caucuses to make it to Wisconsin.
Pocan said Bloomberg, a billionaire who has already spent more than $300 million on TV, radio and advertising, has a funding advantage that will keep him in the race.
"That's going to buy him the ability to stay in as many primaries as he wants," Pocan said.
As for Sanders, who narrowly won the New Hampshire primary and was a top finisher in Iowa, Pocan said Sanders' popularity makes him a viable candidate moving into Wisconsin, which votes April 7.
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Pocan said he'd guess likely Buttigieg, or possibly Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, will be the third candidate to make it to the Wisconsin primary.
Buttigieg received the most delegates in Iowa and finished as a close second in New Hampshire, while Klobuchar finished fifth in Iowa but surged to a surprising third place finish in New Hampshire, beating out former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been leading in national polls for the past year.
The field will likely be winnowed before April as Nevada and South Carolina hold nominating contests later this month before the so-called "Super Tuesday" primaries on March 3, when Democrats in 15 states and territories vote.
Pocan predicts Sanders, who won the Wisconsin 2016 primary, will take the state again this year.
The latest Marquette Law School Poll, released in mid-January, showed Biden in first place with 23% support. Sanders was a close second with 19%, Buttigieg had 15% and Klobuchar had 4%.
Other candidates still vying for the Democratic nomination include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who got 14% in the last Marquette poll, Tulsi Gabbard, who got 1% and Tom Steyer, who also received 1% support.