Former Vice President Joe Biden surged to victory in Super Tuesday contests across the South and beyond, while Sen. Bernie Sanders struck gold with a sizable win in delegate-prize California – divvying up the map fairly evenly on the biggest primary day of the season and indicating that we now have a real two-way race for the Democratic primary.
It emerged after midnight Wednesday that Biden had narrowly defeated Sanders in Texas, the second-biggest contest of the day. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Biden was ahead of Sanders 33.3 percent to 29.3 percent, or 602,352 votes to 531,626 votes. The two candidates are likely to receive a similar share of the state’s 228 pledged delegates.
In a worrying sign for Sanders, who had expected to perform well in the state, Maine’s race call is still outstanding. With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders and Biden are within two percentage points.
The former vice president’s comeback was remarkable given his poor performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada earlier this year, which left many pundits declaring his campaign dead in the water. Biden won the most contests Tuesday – though who came out ahead in the delegate race remains unclear – and certainly outperformed expectations from just a week ago.
“I’m here to report: We are very much alive!” the 77-year-old Biden told fired-up supporters in Los Angeles Tuesday night.
Biden’s weekend win in South Carolina and the decision by 2020 rivals to bow out and endorse him were undeniable factors – especially in Minnesota, which he won after backing from Klobuchar, the home-state senator.
Next week’s Mar. 10 primary in Michigan will be Biden’s next test as he seeks to demonstrate that he can reliably overcome Sanders’ appeal in the Midwest.
Biden so far is projected to win Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Sanders handily won his home state of Vermont and later racked up wins in Colorado and Utah, in addition to California, according to Fox News.
California and its 415 delegates amounted to the biggest prize on the map on Tuesday, and Sanders was ahead by 9 percentage points with 58 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday.
In every state voting on Tuesday, candidates who fail to receive 15 percent of the vote either statewide or in a congressional district leave empty-handed. Candidates who clear the 15 percent threshold receive a proportional share of delegates.
Who comes out ahead in the delegate race is still being assessed, because they are allocated proportionally and not all votes have been counted. Approximate total delegate counts through Super Tuesday are 660 for Biden, 586 for Sanders, 110 for Bloomberg, and 101 for Warren.
Biden’s southern-state victories were valuable: Virginia is worth 99 pledged delegates, North Carolina is worth 110, Alabama is worth 52, Tennessee is worth 64 and Arkansas is worth 31. Oklahoma is worth 37, while Massachusetts is worth 91 and Minnesota is worth 75.
By contrast, Vermont is worth just 16 delegates, while Utah is worth 29 and Colorado 67. California will help close that gap for Sanders.
A total of 14 states were voting Tuesday. To win the nomination, candidates must receive 1,991 of the total 3,979 pledged delegates at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this summer in Milwaukee, Wis.
If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot, hundreds of so-called “superdelegates,” or party insiders, are allowed to cast their ballots. Roughly one-third of the 3,979 total delegates were at stake on Tuesday.
The results were worse than disastrous for Bloomberg, who spent half a billion dollars on his campaign to win…American Samoa?
The president had his own comments to say about Bloomberg’s pitiful results, “The biggest loser tonight, by far, is Mini Mike Bloomberg. His ‘political’ consultants took him for a ride. $700 million washed down the drain, and he got nothing for it but the nickname Mini Mike, and the complete destruction of his reputation. Way to go Mike!”
“Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, other than Mini Mike, was the loser of the night,” Trump went on, before deploying a reference to what he has called Warren’s infamous Instagram “beer catastrophe” when she launched her campaign.
“She didn’t even come close to winning her home state of Massachusetts,” Trump said. “Well, now she can just sit back with her husband and have a nice cold beer!”