The latest on the Democratic presidential primary and Super Tuesday

KNSS News
March 04, 2020 - 12:58 am

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election night campaign rally Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the Democratic presidential primary and Super Tuesday (all times local):

1:50 a.m.

Joe Biden has won Texas' Democratic presidential primary. The state has 228 delegates at stake, the second biggest prize of the night.

More than 2 million people had already voted in Texas even before polls opened for Tuesday's primary. The state, which has long been reliably Republican, is growing increasingly bluer amid a demographics change in Texas.

Biden held a rally in Dallas on Monday night, where he showcased two of his newest supporters and former rivals, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke. Pete Buttigieg endorsed Biden earlier in the night in Dallas.

Biden has also won Massachusetts, Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won California, Utah, Vermont and Colorado.

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11:40 p.m.

As soon as polls closed in California at 8 p.m. Pacific Time, The Associated Press called Bernie Sanders the winner of the biggest prize on Super Tuesday.

The AP called the state's Democratic presidential primary for the Vermont senator even though no votes from Tuesday had yet been counted. The news agency did so based on results from AP VoteCast, its wide-ranging survey of the American electorate. That election research captures the views of voters on whom they vote for, and why.

The VoteCast survey found Sanders with a convincing lead in California, with no path for Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden to catch up. In part, that’s because VoteCast found Sanders with a big lead in early votes mailed in before Tuesday’s election.

Many of those ballots were cast before Biden’s commanding win in South Carolina and before Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. That means the trailing candidate would need to make up a lot of ground in the vote cast in person by voters at polling places Tuesday. But VoteCast found that vote, too, also favored Sanders.

AP VoteCast is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News.

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11 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won California's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 415 delegates at stake, the biggest haul on the electoral map.

Sanders' campaign has long seen the nation’s most populous state as a critical early contest and has had droves of volunteers organizing events across the state. Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton and was hoping for a comeback that would be a capstone moment for the state’s progressive wing.

Sanders has also won Utah, Vermont and Colorado. Joe Biden has won Massachusetts, Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia.

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10:55 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign has filed a legal complaint asking for polls in Los Angeles County to stay open for two more hours after long lines and other problems.

Polls in California were set to close at 8 p.m. local time. The Associated Press has declared Sanders the victor in California, which offers more delegates than any other state.

The legal filing says voter check-in stations and voting machines were not working at some polling places. It alleges voting machines were rejecting ballots at one polling place Tuesday afternoon. It alleges at least one polling place had a wait time of four hours.

California law says voters can cast ballots as long as they are in line by the time polls close at 8 p.m. The Sanders campaign is requesting polls stay open until 10 p.m.

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10:50 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Massachusetts' Democratic presidential primary. The state has 91 delegates at stake.

Massachusetts was considered a must-win state for its home-state candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and election officials predicted high turnout. Nearly 230,000 voters took advantage of early voting last week, the first time the state has allowed early voting in a presidential primary.

Biden has won Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won Utah, Vermont and Colorado.

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10:45 p.m.

A jubilant Joe Biden is celebrating a strong Super Tuesday performance and promising to defeat President Donald Trump in November and “heal this country.”

Biden listed the several primaries he won across 14 states as he continued a remarkable resurrection since dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“It’s a good night, and it seems to be getting even better,” Biden said in Los Angeles. “They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing.”

Biden’s performance across the Super Tuesday states solidifies his position as moderate Democrats’ alternative to progressive leader Bernie Sanders, who also looked in position for a strong delegate haul.

Biden says, “We’re gonna do this, folks.”

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10:35 p.m.

Protesters briefly interrupted Joe Biden's Super Tuesday celebratory remarks to supporters in Los Angeles.

Women holding signs reading "Let Dairy Die" stormed the podium where Biden was giving remarks Tuesday night, flanked by his wife and sister. Biden moved to the side as security removed the women.

Protesters from the animal rights group have interrupted recent campaign events in Nevada and California. Topless women with "Let Dairy Die" written on their chests protested a Bernie Sanders campaign event earlier this month.

As soon as the women were removed, Biden resumed his remarks, seemingly unfazed.

A winner has not yet been called in California.

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10:30 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won Utah's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 29 delegates at stake.

Sanders has a deep well of popularity with the state's left-leaning voters.

The Democratic primary is open in Utah, so voters can cast a ballot regardless of party affiliation. Some in the Republican majority have not fully embraced President Donald Trump and moderates saw an opportunity to woo middle-of-the-road voters with a pitch that they offer the best chance to unseat the president.

Sanders has also won Vermont and Colorado. Joe Biden has won Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia.

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10:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is expressing “absolute confidence” that he’ll be victorious in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, despite losing many of the early Super Tuesday races to Joe Biden.

Speaking to supporters in Essex Junction, Vermont, Sanders stuck to his standard criticisms of his Democratic rivals without naming them. He also promoted himself as putting together “an unprecedented, grassroots, multigenerational, multi-racial movement.”

Thus far, Sanders had won two contests of the night: his home state of Vermont and Colorado.

Referencing states yet to be counted, including delegate-rich Texas, Sanders said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen later on tonight,” noting he was “cautiously optimistic” he would win California.

He ended by thanking Vermonters for their support through the years, closing with, “Let’s go on to the White House.”

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10:05 p.m.

The man being credited with reinvigorating Joe Biden's presidential bid says his endorsement is having the positive effect he intended.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he was "trying to create a surge for Joe Biden" when he gave the former vice president his backing just before last Saturday's South Carolina primary.

Clyburn says the result was just as he'd hoped: Biden won a decisive victory that translated into momentum to boost his campaign through the Super Tuesday contests. In the days that followed, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar ended their bids and backed Biden.

Clyburn campaigned for Biden Sunday in North Carolina and says he recorded robocalls in states including Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas.

Clyburn says he feels “the people got the message.”

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9:52 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Arkansas' Democratic presidential primary. The state has 31 delegates at stake.

The solidly Republican state has seen intense interest from Democratic presidential hopefuls who have crowding airwaves with ads and lining up endorsements. Arkansas' Republican Legislature last year voted to move the state's primary in presidential years from May to March.

Biden has also won Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won Vermont and Colorado.

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9:50 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Minnesota's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 75 delegates at stake.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's abrupt withdrawal from the presidential race gave Bernie Sanders a sudden opportunity to lock up her home state on Super Tuesday. Instead, Biden won the state after receiving Klobuchar's endorsement.

Sanders easily won Minnesota's caucuses in 2016 and has a large and motivated progressive base in the state, offsetting Klobuchar's presumed home-field advantage in a race that was increasingly seen as tight before she dropped out Monday.

Biden has also won Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won Vermont and Colorado.

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9:30 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Tennessee's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 64 delegates at stake.

Deadly overnight tornadoes delayed the start of Super Tuesday presidential primary voting in Nashville and another Tennessee county, spurring elections officials to redirect voters from some polling places to alternate locations.

In a state where Republicans hold every major elected office, including seven of the nine congressional seats, the Democratic primary voting base has a history of being more moderate than that of other states.

Biden has also won Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won Vermont and Colorado.

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9:10 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Oklahoma's Democratic presidential primary.

The state has 37 delegates at stake.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Oklahoma's Democratic primary in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.

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9 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won Colorado's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 67 delegates at stake.

It was Colorado's first presidential primary in 20 years, and Sanders' victory shows how much the Democratic Party can attract independents, still the largest voting bloc in a state that's moved further left in recent elections.

Colorado held presidential primaries from 1992 to 2000, then dropped them to save money. In 2016, voters approved reinstating primaries after complaining about the caucus system of thousands of precinct meetings to start choosing presidential candidates.

Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the state's 2016 Democratic caucuses, and he has maintained an enthusiastic base in Colorado ever since.

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8:40 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is focusing on the key swing state of Florida, even as the votes in Super Tuesday’s contests are still being cast and counted.

The billionaire who avoided the early nominating contests tells an enthusiastic crowd in West Palm Beach, “Winning in November starts with Florida.” That state's primary is March 17.

Bloomberg scored a victory in American Samoa on Tuesday, though he has yet to win any states.

He says, “No matter how many we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible.” He says that feat was rising “from 1% in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.”

Bloomberg has spent $500 million of his own money on campaign advertising.

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8 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Alabama's Democratic presidential primary. The state has 52 delegates at stake.

Black voters hold sway in the state's Democratic electorate, and Biden and Mike Bloomberg split the endorsements of the state's largest black political coalitions. The Alabama New South Coalition backed Biden, and the Alabama Democratic Conference supported Bloomberg.

Biden has also won Virginia and North Carolina, while Bernie Sanders has won the primary in his home state, Vermont. Voting is still underway elsewhere in the country, including California, the night’s biggest prize.

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7:57 p.m.

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have won their first delegates thanks to American Samoa.

The island has six Democratic delegates and their caucus awarded five to Bloomberg and one to Gabbard, who hails from Hawaii.

Bloomberg got nearly half the votes, followed by Gabbard’s 29%. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren all were below the 15% threshold, said island party executive director Andrew Bergquist.

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7:50 p.m.

An upbeat Elizabeth Warren is urging Democratic voters to cast ballots that will make them “proud” instead of listening to political pundits.

At a rally in Detroit on Tuesday night, the Massachusetts senator says “prediction has been a terrible business” and is encouraging people to vote with their “heart.” Warren has had poor showings in recent contests dominated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

People are still voting in many Super Tuesday states across the country. Michigan’s primary is next week, and Warren has scheduled a return trip for Friday.

An undeterred Warren says she will defeat President Donald Trump and is still running because she believes she will make the best president. She says: “You don’t get what you don’t fight for. I am in this fight.”

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7:46 p.m.

Joe Biden has won North Carolina's Democratic presidential primary.

The state has 110 delegates at stake and is one of the swing states for the 2020 election.

Biden has also won Virginia's primary, while Bernie Sanders has won the primary in his home state, Vermont.

Voting is still underway elsewhere in the country, including California, the night’s biggest prize.

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7:35 p.m.

Joe Biden says he’s “optimistic” in light of being projected the winner of the Virginia primary Tuesday.

Campaigning in California at an impromptu stop at an East Los Angeles eatery, the former vice president tells reporters he “feels good” and “we’re going to do well in some other states as well.”

Biden was projected to win Virginia, also expected to be a general election battleground, by a wide margin over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The victory in Virginia, where about a quarter of the electorate is African American, comes on the heels of Biden’s commanding win in the primary Saturday in South Carolina, the first test of support among black voters.

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7:18 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won Vermont's Democratic presidential primary.

Vermont has 16 delegates at stake and is Sanders' home state. In 2016, Sanders won more than 85% of the Democratic primary vote in the race against Hillary Clinton.

Sanders is holding an election night rally at the Champlain Valley fairgrounds in Essex Junction.

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7 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Virginia's Democratic presidential primary.

His victory comes as polls began to close in some states on Super Tuesday. Voting is underway elsewhere in the country, including California, the night’s biggest prize.

Virginia has 99 delegates at stake. It has been considered a tossup state that is increasingly moving to the left.

The results of the Democratic primary in Virginia, with its diverse electoral terrain of rural, urban, and suburban voters, could be a key indicator of which Democrat will be chosen to face President Donald Trump in the general election.

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3:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, have returned home to Vermont to vote in Super Tuesday's presidential primary, with the senator telling reporters he is looking forward to doing well.

As he arrived at the polling place in Burlington Tuesday morning, Sanders told a crowd of reporters that his campaign is about defeating President Donald Trump, whom he called “the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country."

Sanders says his campaign is also about creating an economy and government “that works for all and not just the few.”

He says, “We are putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of people who are standing up for justice, and to beat Donald Trump, we are going to need to have the largest voter turnout in the history of this country.”

Sanders adds: “We need energy. We need excitement. I think our campaign is that campaign.”

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3:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump predicts the super Tuesday contests will make for an “interesting evening of television” as his Democratic rivals compete for the largest chunk of delegates to be awarded in the race to run against him this November.

“I think it's going to be a very interesting evening of television and I will be watching,” Trump told reporters Tuesday as he visited the National Institutes of Health.

Trump acknowledges that Joe Biden has “come up a little bit” as moderates coalesced around his campaign. And he is repeating his allegations that the Democratic establishment is “trying to take it away” from Bernie Sanders, the progressive Vermont senator leading who holds a narrow delegate count lead.

Trump says he doesn’t have a favorite to run against this fall, adding, "I'll take anybody I have to.”

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1:45 p.m.

One of Joe Biden's presidential campaign co-chairs says billionaire Mike Bloomberg will owe voters an explanation if he doesn't do well across 14 Super Tuesday primary states.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stopped just short of saying Bloomberg should drop out if he doesn't overtake Biden to finish the night second nationally in delegates behind current leader Bernie Sanders.

“If your thesis is Joe Biden’s not viable and he suddenly becomes viable, I think you have to explain to people what’s your new working theory," Garcetti told The Associated Press. "Or, God bless you, help us win the Senate, keep the House and defeat Donald Trump.”

Bloomberg got in the race last fall amid signs that Biden was a weak national front-runner headed to bad finishes in the early primary states. Biden tanked in Iowa and New Hampshire, but rebounded to a distant second in Nevada and crushed the field in the South Carolina primary. That narrowed Sanders' delegate lead to single digits heading into Tuesday's primaries.

Garcetti says Sanders will lead voting in California, but says Biden has momentum to narrow Sanders' gap and end the night in a strong position moving forward into additional March primaries.

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1:30 p.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey is throwing his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Comey tweeted Tuesday that he had voted in his first Democratic primary and that he believes the country needs a candidate “who cares about all Americans and will restore decency, dignity to the office.”

Comey says “there's a reason Trump fears" Biden and “roots" for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump frequently targets Biden on Twitter, calling him “Sleep Joe Biden” and recently mocking his debate performance. The president also tweets about Sanders, saying the Democrats are “staging a coup against Bernie!”

Comey has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was fired as FBI director by Trump in May 2017 and has been a chief antagonist of the president's since then.

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11:15 a.m.

Mike Bloomberg is acknowledging that his only path to the nomination is through a convention fight and suggested he may not win any states on Super Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a field office in Miami, the businessman said, “I don’t know whether you’re gonna win any” when he was asked which of the 14 states voting Tuesday he believed he could win.

Bloomberg added, “You don’t have to win states, you have to win delegates.” He suggested that no one will get a majority of delegates and “then you go to a convention, and we’ll see what happens.”

Bloomberg was then asked if he wanted a contested convention and he said, “I don’t think that I can win any other way.”

The billionaire is appearing on the ballot for the first time in the presidential race on Tuesday.

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9:10 a.m.

Deadly tornadoes have affected Super Tuesday voting in two southern states.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is moving some polling places damaged by deadly tornadoes that rolled through the Nashville area Monday night. The party on twitter says that voters assigned to 18 polling locations can vote at a designated high school, church and community center.

Tornadoes ripped across Tennessee early Tuesday, shredding at least 40 buildings and killing at least seven people. One of the twisters caused severe damage in downtown Nashville. Police said officers and fire crews were responding to about 40 building collapses around the city.

In Alabama, seven poll workers were getting ready to open the doors to voters at the Lawley Senior Activity Center southwest of Birmingham when cellphone alerts began going off with a tornado warning about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, said volunteer Gwen Thompson.

She said they went into the bathroom and were OK, but trees were down. The storm knocked out electricity, Thompson said, but the precinct’s two electronic voting machines had battery backups and a few people had cast ballots less than an hour later.

“We’ve voting by flashlight,” Thompson said. (edited)

The early-morning storms in Alabama damaged homes and toppled trees. Winds as strong as 60 mph (97 kph) were reported by the National Weather Service. Tornado warnings issued in at least five counties.

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8 a.m.

A super PAC supporting Joe Biden‘s presidential bid is running a robocall in some Super Tuesday states featuring positive words about Biden from former President Barack Obama.

Amanda Loveday of Unite the Country PAC says the call is running through Tuesday in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

The call features audio from a speech in which Obama calls Biden “a statesman, leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world.”

Obama has said he would not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, and Loveday says the group used the audio the same as would be done in a traditional campaign ad. She says the group did not need permission to use the audio, nor did it seek permission.

A spokeswoman for Obama said the robocall from Biden's super PAC did not amount to an endorsement and the former president's office was not aware that the group planned to use the old audio.

Several candidates in the race have run television ads featuring positive sentiments from Obama, although he has endorsed no one.

Fourteen states vote in Tuesday’s primary. Loveday said the call also ran in South Carolina before its primary last Saturday and could be used in other states that vote in the future.

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