Puerto Rico's Democratic Party scheduled the territory's presidential primary for July 12, while noting it would have preferred to "adopt an alternate method" for selecting delegates given concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The election, originally set for March 29, was postponed once to April 26 and then delayed indefinitely in early April.
The impact of Puerto Rico's primary has decreased in importance after Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE (I-Vt.) dropped out of the race last month, leaving former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE as the only remaining candidate. Sanders, however, has said he will keep his name in remaining primaries as a way to rack up delegates and influence the platform of the Democratic convention in the summer.
Puerto Rico's Democratic Party Chairman, Charles Rodríguez, said in a statement he would have preferred "to avoid the primary and save much needed public funds to deal with the COVID-19 emergency and budgetary constraints, and instead adopt an alternate method for selecting delegates."
But Rodríguez said the party decided to go ahead with the primary in July, because it "is mandated by law and Senator Sanders insist(s) on participating in the primaries in Puerto Rico and other states in order to accumulate delegates that he believes will enable him to advance his platform proposals at the Democratic National Convention."
Rodríguez, also cited the case of New York, a state that canceled its primary due to health concerns, only to be rebuked by the courts and forced to go ahead with the vote.
"We have no alternative but to comply with the law and schedule the primary," he said in the statement.
Puerto Rico's primary will provide 51 pledged delegates.