Super Tuesday: Sanders wins in California as Biden surges
Bernie Sanders seized victory in Super Tuesday’s biggest prize, California, while a resurgent Joe Biden scored wins in the upper Midwest and African American strongholds in the South, in a dramatic offensive.
The two Democrats, lifelong politicians with starkly different visions for America’s future, were battling for delegates as 14 states and one U.S. territory held a series of high-stakes elections that marked the most significant day of voting in the party’s 2020 presidential nomination fight.
The clash between Biden and Sanders, each leading coalitions of disparate demographics and political beliefs, peaked on a day that could determine whether the Democrats select their nominee before the party’s 2020 nomination fight will stretch all the way to the party’s July convention or be decided much sooner.
It was increasingly looking like a two-man race.
The former vice president and the three-term senator took aim at each other from dueling victory speeches separated by 2,500 miles Tuesday night.
“People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement,” Biden charged in Los Angeles, knocking one of Sanders’ signature lines.
And without citing his surging rival by name, Sanders swiped at Biden from a victory speech in Burlington, Vermont.
“You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old kind of politics,” Sanders declared, ticking down a list of past policy differences with Biden on Social Security, trade and military force. “This will become a contrast in ideas.”
Mike Bloomberg’s sole victory was in the territory of American Samoa. The billionaire former New York mayor will reassess his campaign on Wednesday, according to a person close to his operation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.
Elizabeth Warren had yet to post any early wins and lost her home state of Massachusetts to Biden in a devastating defeat.
Sanders, a Vermont senator, opened the night as the undisputed Democratic front-runner. He claimed decisive victories in his home state of Vermont, Utah, and Colorado. Yet Biden scored wins in Warren’s native Oklahoma and a swath of Southern states including Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas signaled he was cementing his status as the standard-bearer for the Democrats’ establishment wing. In a sign of his strength across the country, Biden also won Minnesota, a state Sanders had hoped to put in his column.
Biden racked up the victories despite being dramatically outspent by moderate rival Bloomberg, who poured more than $19 million into television advertising in Virginia. Biden, meanwhile, spent less than $200,000.
A key to Biden’s success: black voters. Biden, who served two terms as President Barack Obama’s vice president, won 60% of the black vote in Alabama, where African Americans made up more than half the Democratic electorate on Tuesday. Bloomberg earned 25%, and Sanders won about 10% of African American votes, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate.
Bloomberg plans to reassess on Wednesday whether he should stay in the race after disappointing results in Tuesday’s primaries.
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Photos: Scenes from Super Tuesday
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