New York has delivered a major blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) continued push for Democratic power.
Democrats on the New York state Board of Elections decided Monday to cancel the party's presidential primary, which had already been pushed from April back to June 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That leaves Sanders without a chance to grab any delegates in the state, despite his insistence on staying on the ballot to secure more standing within the party.
Sanders suspended his 2020 run last month and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, but still wanted his supporters to vote for him so his delegates could "exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions" at the Democratic National Convention. But Doug Kellner, one of the two Democratic commissioners on the elections board in New York, concluded Sanders' suspension "ended the real context for the primary election." "Joe Biden is the only candidate and therefore he is effectively the winner of the New York primary," Kellner said, so holding the primary would be "unnecessary and frivolous" during the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) had already pushed some special elections that would coincide with the June primary until the general election in November. He'd also arranged to mail absentee ballot applications to all state residents. Still, New York's 27th district contest to fill the seat left behind by former Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) remains on June 23, and local reporters say a contest between Sanders and Biden surely would've boosted its turnout.