Sanders denies report he will end White House campaign after losses to Biden

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[March 19, 2020]  By Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders' U.S. presidential campaign on Wednesday swiftly denied a report that he was abandoning his White House bid after bruising losses to Joe Biden in the most recent round of Democratic Party nominating contests.

The story was "absolutely false," the campaign communications director, Mike Casca wrote on Twitter.

The report originated with Axios, which posted an article that briefly said Sanders was suspending his campaign before it was revised to say the campaign had only suspended its Facebook advertising.

Axios posted a correction shortly after the Sanders campaign knocked down the report, saying, "Sen. Bernie Sanders has not suspended his presidential campaign. This story corrects an earlier version that stated he had."

Earlier in the day, a senior adviser said Sanders planned to "assess his campaign" after losing primary elections in three states on Tuesday.

"The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign," his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement.

Facebook data confirmed that the campaign had no active ads as of midday Wednesday.

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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN's Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former Vice President Biden has emerged as the party's front-runner to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November's general election after a string of victories, including a sweep on Tuesday of two prize states - Florida and Illinois - and Arizona. Another big state, Ohio, had also been slated to hold its primary on Tuesday, but state officials postponed it due to the coronavirus crisis.

Biden's latest wins have given him a nearly insurmountable lead over Sanders of 971 to 737 delegates, according to Edison Research. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination at July's Democratic National Convention.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Writing by Joseph Ax and John Whitesides; Editing by Mary Milliken, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

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