Joe Biden decisively won Michigan's Democratic presidential primary, seizing a key battleground state that helped propel Bernie Sanders' insurgent candidacy four years ago. The former vice president's victory there, as well as in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, dealt a serious blow to Sanders and substantially widened Biden's path to the nomination.
Biden again showed strength Tuesday with working-class voters and African Americans, who are vital to winning the Democratic nomination.
Sanders won North Dakota and awaited results from Washington state. Washington's primary was too early to call, and because all votes there are cast by mail or by dropping them off in a ballot box, many ballots were marked for candidates who have since dropped out of the race.
The six-state contest Tuesday marked the first time voters weighed in on the primary since it effectively narrowed to a two-person race between Sanders and Biden. And the first four states on Tuesday went to Biden, a dramatic reversal for a campaign that appeared on the brink of collapse just two weeks ago. Now it is Sanders, whose candidacy was ascendant so recently, who must contemplate a path forward.
Even as the contours of the race came into shape, however, new uncertainty was sparked by fears of the spreading coronavirus. Both candidates abruptly canceled rallies in Ohio that were scheduled for Tuesday night. That set the stage for Biden's remarks in Philadelphia, while Sanders flew home to Vermont and didn't plan to address the public.
Sanders' campaign also said all future events would be decided on a case-by-case basis given public health concerns, while Biden called off a scheduled upcoming Florida stop. Still, the former vice president said Tuesday night that he'd be announcing plans to combat the coronavirus later this week.
The Democratic National Committee also said that Sunday's debate between Sanders and Biden would be conducted without an audience.
According to an Associated Press analysis, Biden had picked up at least 172 new delegates: 71 in Michigan, 40 in Missouri, 29 in Mississippi, six in North Dakota, 17 in Washington and nine in Idaho on Tuesday. Sanders got 107: 50 in Michigan, 23 in Missouri, two in Mississippi, seven in Idaho, eight in North Dakota and 17 in Washington.
Although six states voted, Michigan, with its 125 delegates, got most of the attention. Trump won the state by only 10,704 votes during the general election, his closest margin of victory among Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those states gave Trump the narrow edge in the 2016 Electoral College after Clinton won the popular vote.
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Photos: Voters across nation cast ballots in Tuesday primaries
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