Biden Builds Lead Over Sanders After More Big Primary Night Wins

Joe Biden earned big wins in primaries in Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri

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By Keya Vakil

March 11, 2020

The former vice president earned huge wins in Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri on Tuesday. 

Joe Biden’s remarkable stretch of primary victories continued Tuesday, when he won four key primaries and padded his delegate lead over his rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The former vice president notched wins in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri. Sanders, meanwhile, won the North Dakota Democratic caucus and currently holds a 2,000 vote lead in Washington state, with 67% of votes counted.

It wasn’t just Biden’s wins themselves that were impressive, but the margins of victory. He won 81% of the vote in Mississippi while Sanders failed to reach 15%. Biden also won Missouri 60-35, and Idaho, 49-43. 

But perhaps the former vice president’s most impressive victory of the evening was in Michigan, a state Sanders won in the 2016 primary and had made a focal point of his electoral argument. In a race that was called shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday evening, Biden beat Sanders 53-36. 

Sanders didn’t come away empty-handed though, and his win in North Dakota continues to showcase his relative strength in the West, where he’s previously won California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. 

That streak may come to an end in Washington, where votes are still being tallied due to the state’s vote-by-mail system. Sanders currently holds a narrow lead, but Biden is expected to pull ahead in the coming days as the final third of votes is counted.

Regardless of how Washington turns out, Biden’s dominance in the South and Midwest over the past two weeks, as well as the consolidation of the primary field, have vaulted him to frontrunner status in the race. As of Wednesday morning, he earned 1.8 million votes in Tuesday’s elections to Sanders’ 1.2 million, clearly establishing himself as a favorite with voters. Biden has now earned 846 delegates to Sanders’ 684, with 156 still to be allocated based on final results from Super Tuesday and last night’s races.

Biden celebrated his wins Tuesday with a speech in which he renewed his calls for unity and highlighted the urgency of the November election.

“America is truly at stake,” Biden said. “Winning means uniting America. Not sowing more division and anger. It means not only having a president who knows how to fight but who knows how to heal.”

Sanders did not address reporters or supporters, though plans to hold a press conference from Burlington on Wednesday afternoon. While Tuesday’s results represent a huge blow to his campaign, the race is not yet over. Biden needs 1,979 pledged delegates to secure the nomination without a contested convention and is not even halfway to that number yet.  

Sanders will have a chance to turn the tides of the race during the next debate in Phoenix on Sunday, but even a strong performance may not be enough. Biden holds massive leads according to polls of voters in all four states holding primaries next Tuesday (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio), all of which Sanders also lost in 2016.




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