Democratic Primary Now a Two-Man Race

Written by Charlotte Powers.

On Tuesday, March 3, 14 states and the territory of American Samoa held their primary elections. Former Vice President Joe Biden won 10 of the 15 contests, Senator Bernie Sanders won four and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won American Samoa.

Biden demonstrated his strong support in southern states, winning Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Biden also demonstrated his ability to win in northern states, claiming victory in Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Sanders showed more support in the west, winning in Colorado, Utah and California. Sanders also won in his home state of Vermont.

In each of these contests, the candidates are competing for delegates at the Democratic National Convention in July. A total of 1,338 were up for grabs on Tuesday, and a candidate needs 1,991 delegates in order to reach a majority at the convention. Biden currently leads the delegate count at 664, with Sanders close behind at 573. This gap is likely to close, as there are nearly 200 delegates that remain uncounted from California, where Sanders had a large victory. Overall, the two candidates are neck and neck in the delegate race. 

The primaries for the Democratic party apportion delegates proportionally, as opposed to Republican primaries, where the candidate who receives a plurality of the votes in a state receives every delegate from the state.

Following Biden’s dominant victory in South Carolina, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar suspended their presidential campaigns and endorsed the former Vice President. Many believe that the rallying of centrists around Biden helped his numbers on super Tuesday, especially in Minnesota, Klobuchar’s home state. 

Conversely, Senator Elizabeth Warren has received criticism over her decision to remain in the race despite her low national polling. Critics say Warren split the progressive vote between herself and frontrunner Bernie Sanders, which likely cost Sanders victories in Warren’s home state of Massachusetts and nearby Maine. Senator Warren fell to a distant third place finish in her home state of Massachusetts.

Following the results of Super Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren suspended their presidential campaigns. Bloomberg has since endorsed Joe Biden, while Warren has not yet made an endorsement.

The next set of primary contests come on Mar. 10. Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state will have their chance to make their voices heard. With such a close race, each vote matters now more than ever.

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