It was a Super Tuesday whirlwind for Joe Biden. After his big South Carolina win on Saturday, the former vice-president quickly consolidated the Establishment support he’d been missing for months, and it showed up on the electoral map Tuesday night, effectively narrowing the race to a two-way contest between Biden and Bernie Sanders. We’re tracking the results as they come in, as well as providing commentary and analysis, via live updates below.
Biden looks strong in post-Super Tuesday primaries
According to a recent poll in Florida — which votes on March 17, and carries 248 delegates — the former vice-president leads Bernie Sanders by 48 points in the state, which has a significantly older electorate favorable to Biden. The prize on the March 10 primaries — in which Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington vote — is Michigan, which carries 147 delegates. According to recent polling, Biden enjoys a seven-point lead over Sanders there, though Bernie is leading in Washington, which has 107 delegates. (It’s unclear how substantial an impact coronavirus will have on voter turnout in Washington, which has declared a state of emergency.) In national polls, Biden has also re-taken the front-runner status he held for so much of the primary:
Bloomberg’s ads keep on rolling
Less than 36 hours after dropping out of the race, the former mayor released a bizarre ad compiling clips from Star Wars, The Sopranos, Mean Girls, and The Office, mashing up movie and TV clips to deliver the message: “We’re not going anywhere. We will haunt your dreams. We are in your head. This year, we will fight back.” It was the first ad from Bloomberg’s yet-to-be-named organization that will run digital ads targeting the president.
Counting continues in California
It’s Thursday, but the dust still hasn’t settled from Super Tuesday. And it won’t for a while. Because of its mail-in votes, final results of the California primary aren’t expected to be known for a while. That’s because California “has election month, not election day.”
Warren drops out
In a phone call to her staff Thursday morning, Elizabeth Warren said she is ending her presidential campaign. That leaves Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Tulsi Gabbard as the last remaining candidates in the race. Warren’s withdrawal comes after a dismal Super Tuesday performance that saw her finish no better than third in any state, including her home state of Massachusetts.
Warren may be shopping her endorsement
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the race’s two progressives could soon be coalescing: “Surrogates and allies of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are discussing ways for their two camps to unite and push a common liberal agenda, with the expectation that Warren is likely to leave the presidential campaign soon, according to two people familiar with the talks.” However, it’s possible that Warren is negotiating her endorsement and support:
When Warren announced she was suspending her campaign, she also declined to endorse either of the remaining candidates: “I want to take a little time to think a little more,” she told reporters. No endorsement is certainly on the table as well, especially if the primary could be wrapped up in a couple weeks.
Republicans return their focus to the Biden family
February was a quiet month for Republican accusations of Biden-family misconduct in Ukraine, but now that the former vice-president has reestablished himself as the front-runner, it looks like the political pressure will return. On Wednesday, Senate Homeland Committee Chairman Ron Johnson announced he would release a report on the committee’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s employment in Ukraine later this spring. On Wednesday night, Trump said that Hunter Biden’s role at the energy company Burisma will be “a major issue in the campaign … I will bring that up all the time.”
Turnout numbers are starting to come in
Sabato’s Crystal Ball is now reporting primary turnout in most Super Tuesday states, showing an increase in voters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia — providing more evidence for a blue takeover in the Old Dominion. Asterisks indicate incomplete vote counts.
Sanders sharpens contrasts with Biden
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Bernie Sanders showed no sign of backing down from his one-on-one battle for the nomination with Joe Biden, remarking that Biden’s wins on Super Tuesday had caused insurance companies’ stock to go up, previewing attacks he’ll launch against the former vice-president on trade, and casting Biden as a tool of the corporate world.
Sanders also admitted that his campaign’s turnout strategy had hit roadblocks.
Asked about the possibility of Elizabeth Warren withdrawing from the race, Sanders said that he had spoken with her, and that he would “respect the time and the space that she needs to make her decision.”
Bloomberg will aim a money cannon at Biden
Early on Wednesday, Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden. But to the former vice-president, Bloomberg’s money is much more important than his imprimatur. And that money will be forthcoming:
Meanwhile, President Trump spent the morning relishing Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren’s defeats, rather than focusing his energies on the government’s coronavirus response.
Bloomberg’s (presumably highly paid) social-media team was ready:
Elizabeth Warren to ‘assess’ road ahead
After a highly disappointing evening that included a third-place finish in her home state, Elizabeth Warren is meeting with advisers and evaluating what to do next, multiple outlets reported.
Warren had hoped to emerge as a unity candidate who could bridge the divide between the Biden and Sanders camps. But her paltry showing so far — she has not finished better than third anywhere on the map — makes that prospect all but impossible.
Where prospective Warren voters would go if she dropped out isn’t clear. Though she has much in common with Sanders ideologically, her voters are unlikely to flock to the Vermont senator en masse. Instead, the vote will likely be split — perhaps rather evenly —between Sanders and Biden.
A contested convention is now pretty unlikely
With a Biden vs. Bernie runoff expected, the news that neither Bloomberg nor Warren reached the viability threshold in California and Texas — the two states with the greatest delegate haul — suggests that the fear of a standoff in Milwaukee is more or less in the past.
Maine primary results: Biden wins
Maine, the last state from Super Tuesday whose outcome was in doubt, has gone to Joe Biden, Decision Desk and the Bangor Daily News project.
The state was expected to be an easy win for Bernie Sanders, but, as in other states, an army of late-deciding voters flocked to Biden, helping to shift the Democratic race.
Bloomberg drops out and endorses Biden
In a major boon to Joe Biden, billionaire Michael Bloomberg ended his failed experiment of a campaign on Wednesday morning, following a disastrous showing on Tuesday night. Despite spending more than half a billion dollars on ads and staffing across the country, Bloomberg netted only one win — American Samoa’s caucus — and failed to hit the 15 percent delegate threshold in many states.
At a campaign stop in Florida Tuesday night, Bloomberg had offered no indication that he was ready to exit the race. And earlier in the day, when a reporter questioned whether he was taking votes away from Biden, Bloomberg argued that he was the true moderate standard-bearer in the race. “Joe’s taking votes away from me,” said. “It goes in both directions. Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out?”
But with no path forward to the nomination, Bloomberg was singing a different tune on Wednesday.
Biden is projected to win in 10 states, and Sanders to win four
As of Wednesday, Biden is projected to win Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas, and Maine, while Sanders is projected to take Colorado, Utah, Vermont, and California. Biden currently leads Sanders in the total delegate count by 56, though there are a lot of votes left to be counted before the final distribution will be clear. Biden is expected to pull in the most delegates from Super Tuesday states regardless. The popular vote count as of Wednesday night shook out to 4.89 million votes for Joe Biden, 3.98 million votes for Bernie Sanders, 1.78 million votes for Elizabeth Warren, and 1.71 million votes for Michael Bloomberg.
Biden dominates among late deciders
The story of Super Tuesday was Joe Biden’s freight-train momentum coming off the heels of his South Carolina win on Saturday. Among election day voters all over the map, Biden was the clear choice of those who picked their candidate at the last minute, while Bernie Sanders performed strongest in states like California, where a large portion of the electorate had already voted before election day.
This trend extended even to Bernie Sanders’ backyard.
Biden is projected to win Texas
Dave Wasserman, an editor at Cook Political Report and contributor to NBC News, called Texas for Biden while voters were still in line. Around the time of the call, 30 percent of precincts were reporting, and Sanders had a 2.4-point lead. Just after midnight, Biden passed Sanders with 47 percent of precincts reporting. By 1:45 a.m., Decision Desk HQ and NBC News also called the state for the former vice-president.
It’s close in Maine
Sanders won the state in 2016, though he hasn’t been polling phenomenally there. His signature policy proposal is, however: According to exit polls, 72 percent of voters tonight said they supported Medicare for All. Around 1:15 a.m., the first projection came in calling the state for Biden, though at 2:36 a.m., the Bangor Daily News announced they would not be calling the race tonight.
Also on the ballot tonight in Maine, voters upheld a recent state law eliminating philosophical and religious exemptions for mandated childhood vaccines.
There are reports of massive voting delays in Texas
Voters have reportedly waited for up to five-and-a-half hours to cast their ballots at some sites in Texas. As New York’s Zak Cheney Rice notes, the state is a “voting-rights nightmare,” with some 750 polling sites closed across Texas since 2012.
Bloomberg is reportedly considering dropping out
According to Politico, the billionaire may suspend his campaign as early as Wednesday, following Biden’s commanding performance:
Mike Bloomberg is weighing dropping out as early as Wednesday after losing a string of Super Tuesday states where he invested a fortune in advertising, according to several people familiar with his plans.
While the multi-billionaire former New York City mayor was on track to win delegates, he was roundly beaten by Joe Biden, on whose collapse Bloomberg had been counting.
A Bloomberg spokesperson insisted that no decisions had been made after he left his party in the Palm Beach, Florida convention center late Tuesday.
There’s been a sea change in the 2020 prediction markets
Sanders is projected to win in California
The Associated Press called the state for Sanders just a minute after polls closed. Voters are still in line, however, and the percentage of a Sanders win could change.
California’s final results could change due to early voting
FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skulley warns Super Tuesday audiences not to jump to conclusions regarding night-of results in the Golden State, as California has a large percentage of mail-in ballots, which can be postmarked on the day of the election itself:
Take the 2016 Democratic primary matchup between Hillary Clinton and Sanders. At around 1:30 a.m. on the East Coast, it looked like Clinton was up nearly 25 points, 62 percent to 37 percent, with around 1.6 million votes cast.
The next day, many results sites showed “100 percent of precincts reporting” and Clinton ahead by 13 points, 56 percent to 43 percent with more 3.5 million votes counted. But more than 1.6 million more votes still trickled in after that, and Sanders led among this total. By the time the results were certified, Clinton had only won California by 7 points, 53 percent to 46 percent, with almost 5.2 million votes cast.
The New York Times’ Nate Cohn predicts that the final results for both Bernie and Biden could be disappointing, compared to early projections:
An awkward moment at Biden’s California rally
To his credit, Jill Biden and Valerie Biden switched places while the vice-president was speaking. His speech was also interrupted by Direct Action Everywhere, which is a group of anti-dairy protesters. As New York’s Gabriel Debenedetti notes, “None of the Democratic candidates currently have Secret Service protection.”
Sanders is projected to win in Utah
Biden is projected to win Massachusetts
The development — though not entirely unexpected — is concerning for both Bernie Sanders and a potential death knell for the campaign of Elizabeth Warren, who finished in third.
Biden is projected to win Minnesota
The anticipated win in Minnesota — coming the day after Amy Klobuchar’s endorsement — shows how strong Biden’s momentum is. Sanders was polling around five points ahead this week.
Biden is projected to win Arkansas
The former vice-president is preparing for a sweep of more conservative southern Democratic electorates, though Texas may stand in his way. Sanders is projected to fall below delegate viability there in Arkansas and has a different delegate problem in other states.
Biden is projected to win Tennessee
Many voters made up their minds quite late
According to exit polls, this was good news for Joe Biden, as his prospects have swung all the way up since his win in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Sanders is performing well in early voting states like Colorado and California.
Bloomberg and Warren are in trouble
As New York’s Ed Kilgore notes, “So far the results for Bloomberg have been, in a word, terrible. He fell far short of expectations and relatively recent polling results in every state that has reported significant votes so far. His numbers might look better in states (e.g., Texas, Colorado, and California) with big early voting percentages. But it’s pretty clear he’s been dropping like a rock from the precipice of his upward trend lines before that disastrous debate performance in Nevada on February 19. In most states, in fact, he’s battling Elizabeth Warren for third place far behind Biden and Sanders —and both are falling short of the 15 percent viability threshold for winning delegates.” According to NBC News, Bloomberg will “reassess” his campaign tomorrow.
It hasn’t been an inspiring night for the Massachusetts senator either:
Kilgore continues: “Running even with Bloomberg in states like Virginia initially brightened Elizabeth Warren’s prospects, until a home-state disaster began to go down: In both raw votes and the exit polls, she’s running third behind Sanders and Biden — who are battling for the lead — in Massachusetts. No matter what else she accomplishes on Super Tuesday (e.g., perhaps a solid performance in California), it will be difficult for her to overcome that disappointment.” The pair, however, aren’t doing horrible in terms of reaching delegate viability — though that’s a sore consolation prize.
Colorado has been called for Sanders
Sanders is projected to win Colorado, which has 67 delegates, though Biden and Bloomberg should reach the delegate threshold.
Oklahoma has been called for Biden
Voters in the Sooner State, which has 37 delegates, dished some disappointing statistics to the Sanders campaign:
Biden wins big in Alabama
Biden was expected to carry Alabama, which has 52 delegates, by a significant margin. With 90 percent of precincts reporting a little after midnight, he carried 62.8 percent of the vote. It appears Sanders will reach the delegate threshold, with 16.6 percent.
A few delegates for Bloomberg, as a treat
American Samoa has six delegates; Bloomberg sent seven full-time staffers to the islands in the Pacific. Congratulations to the former mayor — and to Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard, who appears to have won one of the territory’s delegates. With a delegate onboard, Gabbard could qualify for the March 15 debate.
North Carolina has also been called for Biden
Vermont goes to Sanders
CNN and NBC News also have called Vermont for the Vermont senator, where he had a 41-point polling lead. Biden does appear to be above the 15 percent delegate threshold, however. The Green Mountain State carries 16 delegates.
NBC News and CNN call Virginia for Biden
Based on exit polls, the first state has been called for the former vice-president. With a two-digit polling lead, Biden was expected to win in Virginia, which has 99 delegates. Exit polls show Biden at around 50 percent in a state where he only had one field office — an early indicator of a big night ahead for the surging candidate.
Who were the polling favorites in each state prior to voting?
Data for Progress has a strong record so far in the primary — here are its expectations for the evening, based on polling from the past five days.
A comparison of the actual results to polling above shows that Biden outperformed expectations, winning (most likely) in three states where either Sanders or Warren were expected to take the top spot: Maine, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.
Which states have the most delegates?
Voters on Super Tuesday cast ballots in some of the most populous states, including the top two of California and Texas. The delegates break down as such:
- California, 415 delegates
- Texas, 228 delegates
- North Carolina, 110 delegates
- Virginia, 99 delegates
- Massachusetts, 91 delegates
- Minnesota, 75 delegates
- Colorado, 67 delegates
- Tennessee, 64 delegates
- Alabama, 52 delegates
- Oklahoma, 37 delegates
- Arkansas, 31 delegates
- Utah, 29 delegates
- Maine, 24 delegates
- Vermont, 16 delegates
- American Samoa, 6 delegates
Health care leads in exit polling
Meanwhile, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 appear to have created a new bloc of coronavirus voters — whatever that means. According to ABC News, “Anywhere from 51 to 55 percent in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina call coronavirus an important factor in their vote, per preliminary exit polls.”
Sanders appears to have had difficulty boosting new-voter turnout
Though among new voters who did turn out, exit polling from NBC News states that 43 percent went for Sanders.
The age gap between the candidates’ supporters is staggering
Warren doesn’t appear to be dropping out anytime soon
Before polls closed, the Massachusetts senator’s campaign announced that she would soon visit Michigan, Arizona, and Idaho, suggesting that she’s prepared to stay in the race for at least a few more weeks. Michigan and Idaho vote on March 10, while Arizona votes March 17.
Meanwhile, in the GOP primary for Alabama’s junior Senate seat
It appears the good people of Alabama want little to do with accused child abuser Roy Moore. Former attorney general Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville have made the runoff.