Joe Biden Wins 3 More States in Democratic Primary as Coronavirus Postpones Some Other Contests
Joe Biden on Tuesday celebrated another big day for his presidential campaign, winning three more states in the Democratic primary and all but locking up the party’s presidential nomination over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The former vice president delivered his victory address from his home in Delaware, via live stream, after easily winning primary contests in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
In Ohio, where voting was also set to be held on Tuesday, the state abruptly shut down its vote at the last minute on Monday night and pushed its primary back to June as the federal government warned Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 people due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
There have been about 5,900 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and 107 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.
“This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and every aspect of this campaign,” Biden, 77, said Tuesday night, taking a moment to highlight how the global spread of the virus, which emerged in China late last year, has uprooted daily life — and the 2020 presidential campaign.
Four other states — Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, and Maryland — are postponing their state primaries as the world continues efforts to stop the spread of the virus by avoiding large public gatherings and limiting physical interactions between people so as not to overwhelm health care resources while researchers work on treatments and a vaccine. (People over the age of 60 and with underlying health conditions are most at risk.)
Puerto Rico postponed its primary, which was scheduled for March 29, as well.
There are no Democratic primaries scheduled to take place until at least April 4, as the presidential campaign now goes into a kind of historic limbo less than eight months away from the November general election.
Biden leads Sanders in the delegate count by a 1,165-880 margin, according to NPR and the Associated Press’ delegate tracker. A candidate needs 1,991 to win the Democratic Party’s nomination come mid-July, when the party officially nominates a candidate to run against President Donald Trump.
With a growing distance between him and Biden, the 78-year-old Sanders is left to weigh his options about the future of his presidential bid.
“Senator Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
The Democratic Party’s once historically large field of potential nominees dwindled earlier this month to Biden and Sanders (and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who hasn’t won a primary or qualified for any recent debates) when the other remaining candidates rapidly began dropping out around March 3’s “Super Tuesday,” when Biden took a clear lead in the race.
A large portion of those former candidates turned to endorse Biden soon after dropping out: former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, among others.
That support came as Biden’s campaign made a roaring comeback in the Democratic race, beginning in late February with a momentous win in South Carolina that seemed to reawaken his campaign.
Prior to that, Sanders was the party’s clear front-runner after wins in New Hampshire and Nevada (as well as a virtual tie with Buttigieg in Iowa, where voting results were muddled). As Sanders’ campaign rallied on, Biden struggled with distant finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire to open up the primary season while some political pundits began to wonder whether the former vice president’s once hopeful 2020 campaign was dying.
Then came “Super Tuesday,” when Biden won 10 of the 14 state primaries happening on March 3 and rocketed past Sanders in state victories, national polling numbers and the all important delegate count needed to win the party’s nomination.
“I’m here to report: We are very much alive,” Biden said following the turning-point night for his campaign. “And make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.”
Biden similarly turned his attention to Trump after Tuesday night’s wins and began courting Sanders’ young, progressive voters who will undoubtedly be hesitant to turn their support to Biden, a centrist who speaks the language of unification, not revolution.
“Let me say especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Sen. Sanders: I hear you,” Biden said Tuesday, telling Sanders supporters that he shares a “common vision” with the senator though they “disagree on tactics.”
“I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do,” Biden said. “Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.”
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