Former Vice President Joe Biden is so far sweeping the Southern states on Super Tuesday, having immediately won the North Carolina and Virginia primaries after polls closed. He also won Alabama just after the polls closed, but had to battle it out in Tennessee with rivals Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
With 49% of precincts reporting, The New York Times and NBC called the primary for Biden around 9:15 p.m. So far on Super Tuesday, Biden has won four states while Sanders has won his home state of Vermont. At the time of this writing, Biden was leading in an additional four states – Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Arkansas – while Sanders was leading in Maine, Colorado, and Texas.
The early primary results give Biden a commanding delegate lead, but Texas and California – which each have hundreds of delegates to disperse – have not been called yet. Sanders, as mentioned previously, is leading in Texas and recent polls suggest a strong showing for him in California.
There are 14 states with primaries on Super Tuesday, but so far Biden is doing well. Of the five states that have been called so far, Biden has won four. The wins keep him in the lead as far as delegates go, but there are still 9 states to be called and even though some of Biden’s challengers dropped out over the weekend, he still has to contend with Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Biden had been doing poorly in the early primary states: He placed fourth in Iowa, received no delegates from New Hampshire, and placed a distant second in Nevada. On February 29, however, his luck began to turn as he finished first in South Carolina, bringing his delegate count from a dismal 15 to a commanding 54, just six delegates behind the current front runner, Sanders.
By winning Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia, Biden will pick up around 150 delegates, while Sanders so far is taking home far less in these early states. That will Biden him into not only an early lead for Super Tuesday, but also put him in the lead for the Democratic nomination. Sanders won his home state of Vermont, but that brings with it about a dozen delegates.
Of course, this early win may not seal Biden as the candidate. Just days ago, Sanders was polling 2-to-1 over his next closest rival in California, which has a whopping 415 delegates to give away. But Biden’s quick win in Virginia could also signal a continued upswing for the candidate. In the days before Super Tuesday, some of Biden’s toughest competitors dropped out of the race and endorsed him. Both South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (who won the Iowa caucus and had the second-most delegates before the South Carolina Primary) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who surprisingly had come in third place in New Hampshire and picked up a delegate in Iowa, dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden in an effort to keep Sanders from winning the nomination. Along with their endorsements, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and failed presidential and senate candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) also endorsed Biden.