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Fox News Decision Desk projects former Vice President Joe Biden will win the Democratic presidential primary in Minnesota, following Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s withdrawal from the 2020 race.
Former Vice President Joe Biden surged to victory in Super Tuesday contests across the South and beyond, while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., claimed gold in delegate-prize 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.
But the headline of the night was the former vice president’s remarkable comeback after his poor performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada earlier this year. Biden won the most contests Tuesday – though who came out ahead in the delegate race remains unclear – and certainly outperformed expectations from just a week ago.
“I’m here to report: We are very much alive! And make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing,” he told fired-up supporters in Los Angeles.
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 ex-candidate and home-state Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Biden so far is projected to win 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, Fox News projects. California and its 415 delegates amounted to the biggest prize on the map on Tuesday.
But the second-biggest contest, in Texas with 228 pledged delegates, is currently too close to call. Maine’s race call is also outstanding.
In every state voting on Tuesday, candidates who fail to receive 15 percent of the vote either statewide or in a congressional district leave empty-handed. Candidates who clear the 15 percent threshold receive a proportional share of delegates. It remained unclear whether Biden would clear the 15 percent minimum in California.
“We’re gonna win the Democratic nomination, and we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country,” Sanders told cheering supporters late Tuesday in Essex Junction, Vermont, as the crowd erupted in chants of “Bernie!”
“We’re not only taking on the corporate establishment,” Sanders added. “We’re taking on the political establishment.” He slammed Biden for voting to authorize the war in Iraq, backing trade agreements that “cost us millions of good-paying jobs,” and seeking to cut Social Security funding.
For their part, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Mike 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.
Warren will finish a disappointing third in her home state, and Fox News projects Sanders will place ahead of her in second.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., emerges from the booth with her ballot as she votes on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Biden’s support has coalesced in recent days as establishment leaders and onetime rivals, including Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, and Amy Klobuchar, backed his campaign.
Who comes out ahead in the delegate race is still being assessed.
Biden’s southern-state victories were valuable: Virginia is worth 99 pledged delegates, North Carolina is worth 110, Alabama is worth 52, Tennessee is worth 64 and Arkansas is worth 31. Oklahoma is worth 37, while Massachusetts is worth 91 and Minnesota is worth 75. By contrast, Vermont is worth just 16 delegates, while Utah is worth 29 and Colorado 67. California will help close that gap for Sanders.
Klobuchar had been forecast to win Minnesota, and her exit from the race and endorsement of Biden helped push the ex-vice president toward victory. (“We won Minnesota because of Amy Klobuchar,” Biden declared Tuesday night.)
Sanders had the endorsement of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, but fell short in the state.
Sanders has polled strongly in California, and seeks to deny Biden any share of the state’s large delegate prize.
Meanwhile, Biden has aggressively courted Texans, even hosting a rally in Dallas on Monday night featuring a surprise appearance by O’Rourke. Biden’s blowout win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, coupled with an unprecedented last-minute backing from establishment Democrats, galvanized his campaign and shifted momentum even after his poor performances in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
A total of 14 states were voting Tuesday. To win the nomination, candidates must receive 1,991 of the total 3,979 pledged delegates at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this summer in Milwaukee, Wis.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accompanied by his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders, speaks during a primary night election rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot, hundreds of so-called “superdelegates,” or party insiders, are allowed to cast their ballots.
Roughly one-third of the 3,979 total delegates were at stake on Tuesday.
The results were a disappointment for Bloomberg, who spent half a billion dollars on his campaign and sought to present himself as the only truly electable candidate in the race. Bloomberg was on the primary ballot for the first time on Tuesday.
However, there was at least one bright spot for the high-spending billionaire as the votes rolled in. Bloomberg picked up five delegates American Samoa, according to an Associated Press projection. Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was slated to win one delegate there.
Addressing supporters in Florida Tuesday night, Bloomberg acknowledged he may be in for a rough night, even as he declared that “we proved we can win the voters who will decide the general election” and argued that while “my fellow candidates spent a whole year focusing on the first 4 states, I was out campaigning … in the states where the election will actually be decided.”
“Unlike the president, I didn’t come here to golf or to reveal classified information to Mar-a-Lago members,” Bloomberg said. “I came here because winning here in November starts with Florida, and if I’m the nominee let me make you this promise: We will beat Donald Trump in Florida and swing states across the country.”
Bloomberg added: “No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no-one thought was possible. In three months we’ve gone from one percent in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.”
Supporters hold a sign before a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In response to an NBC News report that the Bloomberg campaign would “reassess” its role in the race on Wednesday, Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told Fox News: “Everyday the campaign is re-evaluating.”
Previously, Bloomberg has strongly hinted that he’s not going anywhere regardless of what happens on Tuesday. At a Fox News Town Hall on Monday, Bloomberg suggested he might take his bid to the Democratic National Convention, where he said “horse-trading” could decide the nominee.
Bloomberg separately assured supporters at a rally: “I’m in it to win it, and we are going to go out and we’re going to go get ’em.” He has also purchased advertisements to air after Super Tuesday.
Warren has similarly vowed to take her campaign all the way to the convention in a “final play” and is seeking to at least hold her home state.
“My name is Elizabeth Warren and I’m the woman who’s going to beat Donald Trump,” Warren assured supporters Tuesday.
Even as the results continued to come in, some pundits and political rivals began drawing conclusions early on.
“I think Mini Mike is out after tonight,” Eric Trump remarked, referring to Bloomberg. “Where is he to be found tonight? I don’t think he has a chance of winning any state. I don’t think he has a chance of getting to the 15 percent threshold in many of the states.”
Added the president: “The biggest loser tonight, by far, is Mini Mike Bloomberg. His ‘political’ consultants took him for a ride. $700 million washed down the drain, and he got nothing for it but the nickname Mini Mike, and the complete destruction of his reputation. Way to go Mike!”
“Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, other than Mini Mike, was the loser of the night,” Trump went on, before deploying a reference to what he has called Warren’s infamous Instagram “beer catastrophe” when she launched her campaign.
“She didn’t even come close to winning her home state of Massachusetts,” Trump said. “Well, now she can just sit back with her husband and have a nice cold beer!”
Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Lee Ross contributed to this report.