Biden claims 9 Super Tuesday victories, including Texas
WASHINGTON (AP) — A resurgent Joe Biden scored sweeping victories from Texas to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, revitalizing a presidential bid that was teetering on the edge of disaster just days earlier. But his rival Bernie Sanders seized the biggest prize with a win in California that ensured he would drive the Democrats’ nomination fight for the foreseeable future.
Suddenly, a Democratic Party presidential field that once featured more than two dozen candidates has transformed into a two-man contest. Biden and Sanders battled 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.
It could take weeks — or months — for the party to pick one of them to take on President Donald Trump in the November general election. But the new contours of the fight between Biden and Sanders crystallized as the former vice president and the three-term Vermont senator spoke to each other from dueling victory speeches delivered from opposite ends of the country Tuesday night.
“People are talking about a revolution. We started a movement,” Biden said in Los Angeles, knocking one of Sanders’ signature lines.
Without citing his surging rival by name, Sanders swiped at Biden from 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.”
Biden’s victories were powered by Democratic voters who broke his way just days before casting their ballots — a wave of late momentum that scrambled the race in a matter of hours. In some states, the late-deciders made up roughly half of all voters, according to AP VoteCast, surveys of voters in several state primaries. He drew support from a broad coalition of moderates and conservatives, African Americans and voters older than 45.
Sanders’ success proved he could deliver in perhaps the greatest test of his decadeslong political career. His success was built on a base of energized liberals, young people and Latinos. But he was unable to sufficiently widen his appeal to older voters and college graduates who make up a sizable share of Democratic voters, according to AP VoteCast.
The other two high-profile candidates still in the shrinking Democratic field, New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, were teetering on the edge of viability. Warren finished in an embarrassing third place in her home state, and Bloomberg planned to reassess his candidacy on Wednesday after spending more than a half-billion dollars to score one victory — in American Samoa.
The balance of Super Tuesday’s battlefield — with Biden winning at least eight states and Sanders four — raised questions about whether the Democratic primary contest would stretch all the way to the July convention or be decided much sooner.