Republican strategist Karl Rove on Tuesday predicted that at least six Democratic candidates will have raised enough money to remain competitive in the first four primaries and that none will arrive at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee on July 13 with a majority of pledged delegates.
"Fundraising tends to ebb and flow," Rove, a former deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "What I'm really going to be interested in is not simply the fundraising numbers, but the cash on hand. How much money do they hold on to?"
Rove said he thinks that the four candidates who will have raised enough money through fundraising to remain competitive in the first primaries or caucuses in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He added that "of course" self-funders Tom Steyer, who is competing in the first primaries and Mike Bloomberg, who will start with the "Super Tuesday" races on March 3 will come into play.
The burn rate is important where campaign finances are concerned, Rove added, because it's vital to make sure money is being spent where it will have the most impact.
Rove continued that he's watching the delegates because under the Democrats' rules, "if you get 15% of the voting in the district ,you get delegates."
"We may see these delegates chalked up in the early stages over the board and if we could get to Super Tuesday when Mike Bloomberg starts spending money so that we have three or four or maybe even five candidates who can compete or 15% at least in slices of those states, we could have the Democratic field all carved up because they are frontloading it," he explained. "It may be virtually impossible for anyone to get 15% of the delegates by the time they get to Milwaukee."
However, Rove said he does not think Bloomberg will be a dominant figure, as there will be momentum behind people who were scoring in early contests, which will offset some of his heavy spending.
"Think about it, 48% would have been selected in less than five weeks, so what if they get split up among four or five candidates," said Rove, which will make it more difficult to get 50% of the delegates on the first ballot.
"They could win on a first ballot but only if there's a preliminary ballot that gives the sense that somebody is way ahead," said Rove. "Remember if they go to a second ballot, there are 765 superdelegates who were not allowed to vote on the first ballot."
As a result, the convention "won't be as bad as Chicago 1968, but it could be ugly," said Rove. "Anyone who has been in the 2016 convention and saw the Bernie Sanders supporters...that could be an unpleasant place all the way to the end."
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