Former State Senator Jeff Smith, former Alderman Antonio French, and FOX 2 Political Reporter John Brown are talking about the Super Tuesday Primary results.
Former Vice President Joe Biden grabbed huge early victories on Super Tuesday, winning the prized Virginia and North Carolina Democratic primaries and also adding Alabama, CNN projects, confirming that his comeback momentum is for real on the most crucial night yet in the 2020 election.
Front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders, as expected, won his home state of Vermont, CNN projects. but the early headlines on a day when 14 states are voting are being made by Biden. His campaign was apparently on life support after poor showings in the first three nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada but a massive win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary now appears to have triggered a remarkable rebound.
Virginia was seen as a significant test of Biden’s strength against former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is facing voters for the first time in the 14 nationwide primaries after a half-billion-dollar advertising blitz. The results in Alabama and North Carolina will confirm the former vice president’s strength among African American and affluent suburban voters on whom he is basing his campaign.
Sanders and Biden are the early leaders in Maine and Oklahoma and the two are also in the early lead in Massachusetts along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is hoping for a win in her home state.
Sanders is looking to Texas and California — the biggest prizes on a night when a third of the total delegates needed to win the nomination are up for grabs. It will likely be hours — or even days in the case of the Golden State — until those states can be called.
Voting also took place Tuesday in Democratic primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. The territory of American Samoa is holding a caucus and Americans abroad are having their say.
The key question on Tuesday is whether Biden’s momentum can counter the behemoth of a campaign that Sanders has spent years building. In money, organization and advertising in Super Tuesday states, Sanders is in a far better position than the ex-vice president.
But Biden’s wave of momentum built over the last few days may end up being a big factor. CNN exit polls show nearly half of Democratic voters in Virginia made up their minds in the last few days. Nearly 3 in 10 Democratic voters in North Carolina said the same, and about 4 in 10 Democratic voters in both states said they had made up their minds before February.
Super Tuesday will also be important in setting the destiny of two other high-profile candidates: Bloomberg and Warren.
Bloomberg is hoping to prove on Super Tuesday that he is the best candidate to thwart Sanders and take on Trump. Biden’s bounce-back could tarnish the logic of that position but Bloomberg could do still well enough to reach the 15% threshold needed to win delegates in many states, lowering Biden’s ceiling and inadvertently helping Sanders. The former New York City mayor notched his first win of the campaign in American Samoa on Tuesday.
Warren’s campaign is in need of a reason to go on. If she can’t win a state or climb over the delegate threshold in many battlegrounds, her chances of a meaningful role in the race may disappear.
She is in danger of losing her home state, but a better than expected showing could demonstrate a hold on slices of the progressive electorate that could rein in Sanders in his race for a maximum delegate haul.
Biden riding high
Since his thumping victory in South Carolina on Saturday, Biden has enjoyed one of the most impressive streaks by a modern presidential candidate. He’s consolidated the center of his party after his sudden revival caused top rivals — former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — to quit and endorse him. Establishment Democrats are rushing to endorse him and the once-dry fundraising spigot is suddenly gushing.
From the moment polls closed on Tuesday, Biden began racking up wins.
A mix of affluent suburban voters in the Washington suburbs and African American voters downstate was a good fit for Biden in Virginia, a battleground won twice by former President Barack Obama.
But it was a state where Bloomberg had high hopes of making an impact, and Biden’s success may be a bad omen for the financial data billionaire, whose entire campaign is premised on the idea that the former vice president cannot win the nomination.
Biden’s projected victory in North Carolina came from voters who decided in the last few days, black voters, and those who prefer a candidate who can beat Trump in November.
According to early exit polls, around 3 in 10 Democratic voters in North Carolina decided who to vote for in the last few days. Almost 3 in 5 of those voters supported Biden — suggesting that the departures of Buttigieg and Klobuchar helped consolidate voters behind the former vice president.
As in other states, black voters voted for Biden in strong numbers in North Carolina, around 6 in 10.
In Alabama, Biden carried black voters, moderates and voters whose priority is to beat Trump in 2020.
Democratic black voters in Alabama, who made up almost half of the electorate, supported Biden in huge numbers, around 7 in 10, according to early exit polls. Sanders trailed behind with 1 in 7 black voters, and Mike Bloomberg won around 1 in 10.
Two-thirds of voters in Alabama who want a nominee who can beat Trump voted for Biden, a strong showing since they made up more than half of the electorate.
A nationwide primary
Voters are going to the polls in Democratic primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. The territory of American Samoa is also holding a caucus and Americans abroad are having their say.
Sanders is eying wins in more northern liberal and western states. He is expected to perform especially strongly in California, the biggest prize in the nominating race.
Biden is building on his stronghold of southern states where the African American vote will be decisive. Each candidate will hope to grab a couple of states from the other’s favored turf to demonstrate the national viability of their potential presidential ticket in November. Some states, like Virginia or North Carolina, could see two or three-way battles.
One problem for Biden could be that his surge has come too late to affect early voting, which has taken proportions of the electorate off the table in states like California, Texas and Colorado.
There are 1,300 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday, a third of the total delegates. A candidate needs 1,991 pledged delegates to win the nomination on a first convention ballot. There are no winner-take-all states and any candidate who receives more than 15% of the vote in a state will win delegates to July’s convention in Milwaukee.
Polls in the 14 states start closing at 7 p.m. ET. Voting in California continues until 11 p.m. ET.
Given the vast geographic span of the Super Tuesday Election Day, it’s unlikely there will be a total picture of the situation at the end of the night. The Golden State could, for instance, take days or even weeks to sort out its delegate allocation.
Sanders ready for fight with party establishment
Sanders reacted to Buttigieg and Klobuchar coalescing around Biden by suggesting that the “political establishment is getting nervous” while at a rally on Monday night on Klobuchar’s home turf in Minnesota.
While calling Biden a “decent guy” and a “friend,” the Vermont senator savaged his former colleague’s record on issues like China trade, bankruptcy laws, NAFTA and the war in Iraq.
But Biden drove home his message that after a turbulent three years of Trump’s administration, Americans are not looking for more disruption that he says would result from a Sanders win.
“My message is people are not looking for revolution. They’re looking for results. I have the most extensive, successful record of getting big things done and big things passed,” Biden said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
But Warren warned that Biden’s pitch was simply about restoring a political order that had spurned working class Americans.
“Nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country,” Warren said at a rally in Los Angeles on Monday.
As he waits to see how voters will embrace his campaign after skipping the first four nominating contests, Bloomberg took a shot at Warren, who blasted him in their debate encounters.
“I didn’t realize she’s still in. Is she?” Bloomberg said to CNN’s Cristina Alesci. Asked how he expected to perform on Tuesday night, he added, “I think we are going to do very well — looking forward to it.”