Paul Ryan, the former Republican representative of Wisconsin, said Tuesday that though former Vice President Joe Biden may not get the Democratic nomination, he would be the candidate that would be the most difficult for President Donald Trump to beat.
Appearing at the yearly Milken Institute Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Ryan told CNBC that Biden’s appeal with moderates and “suburbanites” could lead him to a victory over Trump were he to get the nomination.
“I think Joe is probably the hardest to beat, because it’s going to come down to the suburban [voter], it’s going to be the suburbanite that’ll basically be the difference-maker,” Ryan said, before describing the hypothetical suburban voter as a “first-generation Republican” who likes “Trump the idea,” but not the president’s personality.
“So they’ll be tempted to vote for what they think is a safe moderate—and I think Joe Biden, it’s all relative, will fall into that category, and is the likeliest to be able to win that voter,” Ryan said.
He then warned that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg could instead take the nomination, despite Biden being “the best bet the Democrats have.”
“If Bernie keeps racking up wins and is seen to be going toward the nomination, then you can probably make the case that Bloomberg will get enough proportional delegates, because he’ll play in enough states, to go into the convention with a claim, and then you’ll have one whale of a mess of a convention,” Ryan said.
Tuesday is the day of the New Hampshire primary—the first primary in the United States and second nominating contest after the Iowa caucuses. Sanders, who won with 60 percent of the vote in the 2016 primary over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is again expected to win.
In the latest CNN poll, Sanders is leading the race with 29 percent support. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is second with 22 percent, ahead of Biden with 11 percent support. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren followed with 10 percent support, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar garnered 7 percent.
A poll by Morning Consult also puts Sanders in the lead with 25 percent, while Biden is second with 22 percent. This poll puts Bloomberg in third at 17 percent, however, the late-entrant does not appear on the New Hampshire ballot, but voters could write him in.
In the three small townships that vote at midnight, Klobuchar led the voting with eight votes, followed by Sanders and Warren with four votes each. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang came in fourth with three votes, with Biden and Buttigieg rounding out the rear with 2 votes each.
In a strange turn of events, Bloomberg won both the Democratic and Republican primaries in Dixville Notch with two write-in votes (out of five votes total) in the Democratic primary, and 100 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. While that last number may sound impressive, it’s worth noting that only one person voted in that race.