- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — Liberal activists at the Netroots Nation convention are literally betting on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.

The Zero Hour, a nationally syndicated liberal radio and TV show, was taking bets on who be the next candidate to drop out of the crowded Democratic race.

Mr. Biden was a heavy favorite with 32 bets out of the 25 candidates in the race.

“Some people are voting with their hearts, not their heads. We’re happy to take their money,” said Linda Benesch, a producer with the show.

Mr. Biden leads the field in the polls and has proved himself a fund-raising powerhouse by collecting $21.4 million in his first two months in the race.

He is not the candidate of choice for the far-left Democrats that attend Netroots Nation, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the preferred candidate.

No one betted on Ms. Warren dropping out.

The wagering follows the second casualty of the 2020 Democratic race last week when Rep. Eric Swalwell of California called it quits after less than three months in the race. Former West Virginia state legislator Richard Ojeda left the race in January after only two months for lack of fundraising.

A sign on a wall invited bets: “Who is going to drop out”

Under the sign, photographs of each of the 25 candidates were tacked to the wall with a tally of bets under each.

The contest was a set up similar to a 50-50 raffle, with half the proceeds going to The Zero Hour and half split among the winning bettors.

The favorite for liberal wagerers was former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. He is a safer bet since he remains down in the polls and whose campaign is reportedly running on fumes.

“They’re actually trying to win some money,” Ms. Benesch said.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, another far-left champion who is extremely popular with the Netroots Nation crowd, had 20 bets placed on him.

Ms. Benesch said the bets were placed by “one motivated person with a 20-dollar bill.”

There is a pro-Warren faction at the convention who want Mr. Sanders to get out of the way of the political revolution he ignited with his 2016 presidential run and allow Ms. Warren to assume the leadership role.

Mr. Sanders is among the front-runners in the race. Another top-tier candidate with zero bets was Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a center-left candidate who is considered a top tier contender, had seven bets.

Favorites to drop out included Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts with 27 bets, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland with 16 bets each, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with 15 bets and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota with nine bets.

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who jumped into the race last week and pledged to spend $100 million of his fortune on his campaign, had six bets on the board.

Mr. Steyer’s vast fortune makes him an unpopular candidate with the Netroots Nation crowd, many of whom embrace an anti-Wall Street and anti-wealthy agenda.

“He barely just dropped in. How can he drop out?” said Jon Bauman, the president of Social Security works PAC that advocates for senior issues.

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