The Latest: Sanders wins North Dakota caucuses

Politics
Joe Biden

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries (all times local):

7:55 a.m.

Bernie Sanders has won North Dakota’s Democratic presidential caucuses.

Participation in Tuesday’s contest was expected to be dramatically higher than it was four years ago. That’s mainly due to a procedural change that makes the caucuses function more like a traditional election, with citizens able to drop in at 14 caucus sites to cast their ballot and leave.

Sanders won the state’s Democratic caucuses over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by nearly 40 percentage points. The race between Joe Biden and Sanders was upended by the former vice president’s Super Tuesday turnaround.

But neither campaign focused closely on North Dakota. The state offers 14 pledged delegates.

Biden won primaries in Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho on Tuesday.

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1:01 a.m.

Joe Biden has won Idaho’s Democratic presidential primary. The state has 20 pledged delegates at stake.

Democrats in Idaho are using a primary for the first time. They used a caucus in 2016 to pick Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Officials have said switching to a Democratic primary this year from a caucus could significantly increase the number of participants and play a role in the outcome.

President Donald Trump is expected to have little difficulty winning the state in the November general election.

Idaho last year was the nation’s fastest-growing state, with close to 37,000 new residents boosting its population to nearly 1.8 million. That’s a 2.1% population increase.

Biden also won primaries Tuesday in Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota.

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11:35 p.m.

The Democratic presidential primary in Washington state is too early to call.

All votes in Washington state are cast by mail or by dropping them off in a ballot box, and the state counts a significant amount on the day of the election.

But once that first update is released, election officials only provide an update once a day until all the late-arriving ballots are counted.

In the first batch of results released late Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are essentially tied — with each claiming about 33% of the roughly 1 million counted votes.

Most counties in Washington state will next provide an update about their results Wednesday.

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11 p.m.

Joe Biden is celebrating victories in Democratic presidential primaries in Mississippi, Missouri and especially the general election battleground of Michigan.

During an appearance near his Philadelphia campaign headquarters, the former vice president called Tuesday’s vote “another good night” and “a step closer to restoring decency, dignity and honor to the White House.”

In a subdued tone, Biden reached out to supporters of struggling rival Bernie Sanders, thanking the Vermont senator and his following “for their tireless energy and their passion” and their common goal: to “beat Donald Trump.”

Biden reminded his supporters — and a national television audience — of the former rivals who have endorsed him, more recently California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, saying: “We’re bringing this party together. That’s what we have to do.”

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10:50 p.m.

Joe Biden says the coronavirus crisis is “a matter of presidential leadership” and he’ll soon propose a plan to combat it.

The former vice president spoke after he won Democratic primaries in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi on Tuesday, dealing a serious blow to Bernie Sanders.

But Biden opened his victory speech with an acknowledgement of the worldwide crisis that has prompted travel bans, quarantines and emptied college campuses. He said, “This whole coronavirus issue is a matter of presidential leadership, and later this week I’ll be speaking to you on what I believe the nation should be doing to address this virus.”

The outbreak is disrupting the Democratic primary, too. Both Biden and Sanders cancelled rallies Tuesday night. And the Democratic National Committee says their next debate, Sunday in Arizona, will not have a live audience.

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9:50 p.m.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang is backing Joe Biden’s presidential bid, saying it’s time for Democrats to rally around the former vice president and get ready for the general election.

Following Biden’s projected wins in a number of state primaries Tuesday, Yang said on CNN that he sees Biden as the best-positioned candidate to defeat President Donald Trump in November, saying Democrats need to “come together as a party, starting tonight.”

A supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016, Yang said the Vermont senator inspired his own presidential run, which Yang ended in February before signing on as a CNN political commentator.

Yang said he believes the progressive ideas expressed by candidates like Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and himself “will have a voice in the Biden administration to start solving these problems.”

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9:25 p.m.

The Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner of Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday using a combination of early vote returns and its AP VoteCast survey of voters in the state.

Michigan stretches across two time zones, which means there’s an hour in which officials in most of the state are counting votes as a few counties in the state’s Upper Peninsula are still casting ballots.

The AP called the race just a few minutes after polls closed at 9 p.m. ET in Michigan, after that first hour of results showed Biden ahead of Bernie Sanders. Those early returns also matched the results of AP VoteCast, the news agency’s wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

VoteCast showed Biden holding a solid lead over Bernie Sanders in Michigan’s Democratic primary. The poll showed Biden winning among men and women, as well as white voters and African Americans. More Democratic primary voters thought he, rather than Sanders, is more likely to beat Donald Trump come November.

AP VoteCast is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News.

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9:05 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary.

Michigan was the largest of the six states voting Tuesday, with 125 pledged delegates at stake.

Biden emphasized the Obama administration’s bailout of the auto industry, which saved thousands of jobs. He also counted on continued strong support among African American voters.

Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in Michigan’s 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Losing the state this year may greatly diminish his chances at the nomination.

Many voters are already looking ahead to November and whether President Donald Trump can again win in the state that, perhaps more than any other, catapulted him into the White House in 2016.

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8:05 p.m.

As soon as polls closed in Mississippi and Missouri at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, The Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner in both states’ Democratic presidential primary.

The AP called Biden the winner over Bernie Sanders even though state officials had yet to release any results from Tuesday’s election. The news agency did so based on results from AP VoteCast, its wide-ranging survey of the American electorate. That election research captures the views of voters on whom they vote for, and why.

The VoteCast survey showed Biden with a wide lead in both states. Importantly, Biden was leading in all parts of both states. He led among both men and women, as well as among both white voters and African American voters.

Black voters have powered Biden to wins in several states to date in the Democratic primaries, including his touchstone victory in South Carolina late last month.

In both Mississippi and Missouri on Tuesday, Biden dominated among African Americans — winning the support of close to three-quarters of African Americans in both states.

Democratic primary voters in Missouri and Mississippi were more likely to think Biden rather than Sanders could defeat Donald Trump in November.

AP VoteCast is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News.

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8 p.m.

Joe Biden has won the Democratic presidential primaries in Missouri and Mississippi.

Missouri has 68 delegates at stake. Mississippi has 36 pledged delegates at stake.

Missouri is among the more conservative of the six states holding Democratic primaries Tuesday. All but one of the statewide elected officials are Republicans. The Democratic presidential candidate faces an uphill battle to carry Missouri in November against President Donald Trump, who won the state by 19 percentage points in 2016.

Joe Biden campaigned in Mississippi on Sunday, working to shore up support among African Americans, who make up 38% of Mississippi’s population and an even larger share of the Democratic electorate. Bernie Sanders canceled a plan to appear Friday in Jackson so he could campaign in Michigan, which is also holding a primary Tuesday.

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8 p.m.

Polls are beginning to close as six states hold primaries or caucuses to help determine the Democratic presidential nominee who will go up against President Donald Trump in November.

Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state are voting Tuesday. Polls closed in Mississippi and Missouri at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the delegate count after last week’s Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa voted. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is the only other Democratic candidate remaining in the race.

It’s a critical point in the Democratic race. Biden is looking to cement his front-runner status, while Sanders is in an urgent fight to turn things around. The primary calendar is quickly shifting to states that could favor Biden and narrow his path to the nomination.

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7:20 p.m.

Democratic front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will debate as scheduled Sunday in Arizona amid the coronavirus outbreak — but without a live audience.

The Democratic National Committee says it is making the move “at the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution.”

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa says local public health officials had advised that the debate could continue as planned.

Both Biden and Sanders cancelled their election night events Tuesday in Ohio amid concerns about the epidemic.

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4:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is canceling a scheduled rally in Cleveland amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus.

Mike Casca, a spokesman for the 78-year-old Vermont senator, says the campaign is canceling the event “Out of concern for public health and safety.” Sanders had been set to speak there as results from Democratic primary voting taking place in six states rolled in Tuesday night.

“We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak,” Casca said. “Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight.”

Joe Biden is scheduled to hold his own rally in Cleveland later Tuesday. A spokesman for the 77-year-old former vice president indicated there was no cancellation coming, saying, “We’re headed to Cleveland.”

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2:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is picking up the endorsement of a U.S. House member who backed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and praises the Vermont senator for leadership on issues affecting veterans and working families.

Rep. Mark Takano of California says in a video out Tuesday from the Sanders campaign that he’s supporting him in part because of Sanders’ “ability to get things done.”

Takano, who currently chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, cites Sanders’ previous leadership on the Senate counterpart body. His backing is the first for Sanders from a member of Congress in several weeks, while former Vice President Joe Biden has rolled out nearly 50 congressional endorsements this month alone.

Takano represents California, a delegate-rich prize that Sanders carried in last week’s Super Tuesday primaries. On Tuesday, six more states hold Democratic presidential primaries.

In the video, Takano — the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress — lauds Sanders’ early support for marriage equality, as well as his focus on issues including climate change and entitlement protections.

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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