Bernie Sanders to Cut Hundreds of Staff Members and Turn to California

Yamiche Alcindor
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
John Sommers II | Getty Images

Senator Bernie Sanders is planning to lay off "hundreds" of campaign staffers across the country and focus much of his remaining effort on winning California, he said in an interview Wednesday.

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The Vermont senator revealed the changes a day after losing four of the five states that voted Tuesday and falling further behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Despite the changes, Mr. Sanders said he would remain in the race through the party's summer convention and stressed that he hoped to bring staff members back on board if his political fortunes improved.

"We want to win as many delegates as we can, so we do not need workers now in states around country," Mr. Sanders said in the interview. "We don't need people right now in Connecticut. That election is over. We don't need them in Maryland. So what we are going to do is allocate our resources to the 14 contests that remain, and that means that we are going to be cutting back on staff."

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When asked how many people would be let go, Mr. Sanders didn't give an exact number but did say many people would be affected.

"It will be hundreds of staff members," Mr. Sanders said. "We have had a very large staff, which was designed to deal with 50 states in this country; 40 of the states are now behind us. So we have had a great staff, great people."

He added that he hoped to work with the people his campaign is letting go in the future.

"If we win this, every one of those great people who have helped us get this far, they will be rehired," Mr. Sanders said. "But right now, we have to use all of the resources we have and focus them on the remaining states."

Mr. Sanders said he planned to move a number of staff members to California, where he hoped to hold rallies for "hundreds of thousands" of people in cities across that state.

"California will have the most staff," Mr. Sanders said. "Symbolically and in terms of delegates, if we can win the largest state in this country, that will send a real message to the American people and to the delegates that this is a campaign that is moving in the direction it should."