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Sanders Under Pressure After Biden's Triple Win

Biden reaches out to Sanders supporters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2020 6:44 AM CDT
Updated Mar 18, 2020 6:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Joe Biden cruised to victory in all three states that held Democratic primaries Tuesday—but there were no triumphant rallies in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona for him to address. Instead, the former vice president, obeying federal guidance against gatherings of more than 10 people, addressed supporters from his home in Delaware, Politico reports. "We've moved closer to securing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president," he said before praising Bernie Sanders and reaching out to his supporters. "I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do," he said. More:

  • Calls for Sanders to drop out. Sanders is now far behind in delegates and a growing number of Democrats are urging him to drop out, though his supporters argue that the coronavirus crisis has made his message on universal health care even more important. Sources tell the Washington Post that Sanders and his wife, Jane, are expected to make a decision together on the future of his campaign.

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  • Huge margins for Biden. Biden won by large margins in all three states, especially Florida, where he took 61.9% of the vote to 22.8% for Sanders, the New York Times reports. It was 59.1% to 36.1% in Illinois. With 88% of votes counted, Biden was leading Sanders in Arizona by 43.6% to 31.6%. So far, Biden has been awarded 249 delegates from Tuesday's votes and Sanders 116, giving Biden 1,147 total delegates to 861 for Sanders. Biden needs 1,991 to secure the nomination.
  • Sanders focuses on pandemic. Sanders didn't mention the primaries or the election in an address streamed from Washington, DC, on Tuesday night. Instead, he focused on the coronavirus crisis, listing priorities including $2,000-a-month checks for families. "I look forward to continuing to communicate with you to tell you where we are coming from, what our ideas are, and look forward to hearing from you," he said.
  • The outbreak has hit turnout. The coronavirus outbreak caused a large drop in in-person voting, though records numbers of people in Florida either voted early or mailed in their ballots, the Hill reports. In Illinois, where some polling places were closed at the last minute and officials failed to show up at others, turnout was down an estimated 50% from 2016.
  • Bad numbers for Bernie. In Illinois, which Sanders almost won in 2016, turnout was low among the young voters he was relying on, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. According to pollsters at NBC, 70% of black voters chose Biden, while 63% of non-college educated whites voted for Biden and 31% chose Sanders.
(Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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