It turned out to be a real “super,” Super Tuesday for former VP Joe Biden, who roared back to winning at least nine of the 14 contests up for grabs. Biden’s huge comeback comes after a rough several months of seemingly to struggle in the first three Democratic nominating contests.
However, Sen. Bernie Sanders, claimed gold, as most expected he would, with a sizable win in delegate-rich California – divvying up the map on the biggest primary day of the season and indicating a tight battle between the two that is likely to drag on for weeks or more.
It emerged after midnight Wednesday that Biden had narrowly defeated Sanders in Texas, the second-biggest prize of the day. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Biden was ahead of Sanders 33.3 percent to 29.3 percent. It looks as though the candidates will receive a similar share of the state’s 228 pledged delegates.
The former vice president’s comeback was remarkable given his poor performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada earlier this year, which left many pundits declaring his campaign dead in the water. Biden won the most contests Tuesday and certainly outperformed expectations from just a week ago – though who came out ahead in the delegate race remains unclear.
“I’m here to report, we are very much alive! And make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing,” the 77-year-old Biden told fired-up supporters in Los Angeles Tuesday night.
Biden’s weekend win in South Carolina and the decision by 2020 rivals to bow out and endorse him were undeniable factors – especially in Minnesota, which he won after backing from Klobuchar, the home-state senator.
Next week’s Mar. 10 primary in Michigan will be Biden’s next big test as he seeks to demonstrate that he can reliably overcome Sanders’ appeal in the Midwest and the so-called “rust belt.”
Biden so far is projected to win Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Sanders handily won his home state of Vermont and later racked up wins in Colorado and Utah, in addition to California.
Who comes out ahead in the delegate race is still being assessed, because they are allocated proportionally and not all votes have been counted. Approximate total delegate counts through Super Tuesday are 660 for Biden, 586 for Sanders, 110 for Bloomberg, and 101 for Warren.
For their part, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Bloomberg have openly suggested they could stay in the running until the Democratic National Convention. It’s unclear whether their poor showing on Super Tuesday will lead them to reconsider.