Clyburn calls for Democrats to 'shut this primary down' if Biden has big night

The South Carolina congressman spoke as six states were voting with 352 delegates up for grabs.
Image: Jim Clyburn
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., at a news conference in Washington on Feb. 25, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

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By Jane C. Timm and Dareh Gregorian

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the influential lawmaker who helped lead Joe Biden to an overwhelming victory in South Carolina, says the Democrat National Committee should "shut this primary down" to help the former vice president's chances in November.

"I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates — because you don't do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it's obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you," Clyburn told NPR.

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Pressed on the issue, Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, said a clean sweep would make Biden the "prohibitive nominee," and he added that the DNC should "step in, make an assessment and determine whether they ought to have any more debates."

He added that prolonged fights for previous nominations have damaged other candidates. "People will say things," Clyburn said, "that you cannot overcome."

The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Sunday in Phoenix.

Clyburn helped pull Biden's campaign from the brink of the abyss when he endorsed him in the Democratic primary in South Carolina, where he's enormously influential.

Biden used his success there to dominate Super Tuesday just days later, becoming the front-runner in the Democratic race.

Clyburn also told NPR that he's "pushing for an African American female" to be Biden's vice presidential pick.

"I really believe that we've reached a point in this country where African American women need to be rewarded for the loyalty that they've given to this party," Clyburn said.