Coronavirus: Joe Biden says Democrats could hold 'virtual' convention to pick presidential nominee

Party's nominating event moved to August amid pandemic fears

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 05 April 2020 18:22 BST
Biden suggests DNC hold 'virtual' convention

Joe Biden suggests Democrats could consider holding a "virtual" convention to determine the party's 2020 presidential nominee.

This week, the Democratic National Committee announced that it postponed its convention to mid-August amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But the former vice president told ABC's This Week on Sunday that the party instead "should be thinking about" holding a "virtual" event for the party's delegates to select a candidate to take on Donald Trump in the November general election.

He said: "The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary. We may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place, and that's very possible. Again, let's see where it is. And what we do between now and then is going to dictate a lot of that as well. But my point is that I think you just gotta follow the science. Listen to the experts."

The party announced it was moving the dates of its convention the day after Mr Biden told The Tonight Show on 1 April that he doubts "whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July or early July. I think it's going to have to move into August."

A delayed convention follows a contentious primary season, with a field whittled down to the former vice president and Bernie Sanders, whose campaigns are immersed in the Covid-19 outbreak.

Several states have postponed elections to prevent voters from spreading the disease at crowded polls.

But days before cities and states across the US were preparing stay-at-home measures, primary elections were held in Arizona, Florida and Illinois on 17 March, the most recent round of primary voting, which preceded two weeks of sweeping measures to keep people away from crowds and in their homes.

Wisconsin's primary, scheduled for 7 April, is scheduled to go on as planned, despite a statewide stay-at-home order and a last-minute plea from the state's governor pleading for mail-in only voting. There also are massive shortages of poll workers, including in large areas like Milwaukee, forcing some polls to close and leaving just a handful of voting sites.

Mr Biden's campaign has not called on any state to postpone their elections.

He has the lead in the race with 1,17 pledged delegates, followed by Senator Sanders with 914 delegates.

The former vice president also told This Week that his campaign is likely to begin the vetting process for selecting a running mate this month, and that he spoke with the senator about their futures in the race.

He said: "If we don't start now or shortly in the month of April, it's gonna be hard to get it done. So I was basically apologising and making it clear I wasn't trying to be presumptuous in any way ... and [Mr Sanders] appreciated that."

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