Bernie Sanders would vote for Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination, his wife Jane Sanders said in an interview with the Daily Beast that was published on Thursday.
"If Bernie wins, hopefully Secretary Clinton's supporters will support him, and if she wins we hope our supporters will support her," Jane Sanders told the website.
Asked specifically if her husband would vote for the former secretary of state in November, Jane Sanders said: "I think both of them will support the other."
The notion that a losing Democratic candidate would support the party nominee over a Republican in November should hardly be a surprise. But Jane Sanders' comments come on the heels of a McClatchy-Marist poll that showed 25 percent of the Vermont senator's supports would not support Clinton in the fall if she wins the nomination. By contrast, 14 percent of Clinton supporters said they would not vote for Sanders.
Jane Sanders' comments also come as the race between her husband and Clinton has grown increasingly heated.
"She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am not qualified to be president," Sanders asserted at rally last week, though Politifact later determined that Clinton hadn't actually stated this. "I don't believe that she is qualified, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds."
Clinton hit back the following day.
"I think he hadn't done his homework and he'd been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood," Clinton said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "That does raise a lot of questions."
But she also acknowledged that she would support Sanders over the other candidates.
"I don't know why he's saying that, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz anytime," she said at an impromptu press conference in the Bronx later that day.
Jane Sanders said that the race had only grown angry because the issues make them angry.
"I think we're talking about important issues that affect people's lives. 25 percent of our children in America live in poverty. Yeah, that's something to be angry about," she said. "Climate change is real, and the fossil fuel industry is pouring tons and tons of money into campaign contributions. That's something to be angry about."
Jane Sanders played down the rancor on the campaign trail, calling it "nothing" in comparison to what is happening on the Republican side.
Of course, the nomination fight is far from over. Sixteen states, three territories, and the District of Columbia will vote over the next two months in the Democratic primaries, including the critical New York contest on Tuesday. Clinton still holds a 220 delegate lead over Sanders, along with a double-digit polling advantage in New York.
Sanders has a long way to go to catch up, but his wife is confident that they are still in this game. Jane Sanders said that they were frustrated with the party's rules, particularly around superdelegates who have largely flocked to Clinton. But she's hopeful that those party elders will change their minds and join the Sanders campaign.
"If the superdelegates are using their judgment, my hope is that they are looking at what is happening in this race — that he has won eight of the nine most recent races, that he has far better polling numbers against all the Republicans, that he can get not just Democrats but Independents," she said.
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