There are six states holding primaries today that will bestow another 352 delegates to the only three candidates left in the race: former Vice President Joe Biden; Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT); and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). Currently. Mr. Biden leads in the count with 664 delegates to Mr. Sanders’ 573 and Ms. Gabbard’s 2.
Mr. Biden has been endorsed by former candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and, just yesterday Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has so far decided to not endorse anyone, as yet. The complete list of his endorsements can be seen here
After Sen. Warren withdrawal from the campaign, the Working Family Party has thrown its support to Mr. Sanders. Academy Award winning documentary maker Michael Moore and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D_NY) are his most ardent and visible support. The full lists of his endorsers can be seen here
The main focus has been of the Michigan primary where Mr. Sanders beat fellow candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by only 1.5% of the vote. To catch up to Mr. Biden he’s going to need a much larger margin plus win in several other states. Right now the Detroit Free Press gives Mr. Biden a 24 point lead.
If Biden’s 51%-27% lead in the poll, done by EPIC-MRA for the Free Press and its media partners, holds, it would guarantee him a signature victory in Michigan — a battleground state that helped President Donald Trump win the White House four years ago. It could also starve Sanders’ formerly front-running campaign of delegates needed for the nomination and call into question how long his effort can remain viable.
The Washington primary may be another obstacle for Mr. Sanders where he won over Mrs. Clinton, 73% – 27%. It was a caucus in 2016 but Washington has since become a primary state which may narrow his margin. In Missouri, Mr. Sanders will need strong support from white voters to make up for an expected loss of black votes. Idaho, too, has switched to a primary system from a caucus this year where Mr. Sanders won 78% 0f the vote. He could still win Idaho but not as well as he did in 2016 and there are only 20 delegates in play.
North Dakota has also changed its method of choosing a candidate:
A firehouse caucus is a party-run primary so named because it is held in a public place such as a firehouse. The process is new this year for North Dakota Democrats, who have relied on a more traditional caucus where votes were collected by precinct captains and hand counted. This year, the caucuses will be held at 14 locations, where qualified voters may cast a ballot and leave instead of hanging around for multiple rounds of voting, said Alex Rohr, a party spokesman. [..]
Hotels, community centers, union halls and a casino have been booked as caucus locations — but no firehouses.
Democratic voting locations open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Central time. Participants are not required to vote at a caucus location of their home district. Someone who lives in Bismarck, for example, may vote at a caucus in Minot, and vice versa.
Also new this year for Democrats is mail-in voting. Voters may request a ballot from the party, fill it out and mail it back. Ballots postmarked by March 5 will be counted.
This will be an uphill battle for Mr. Sanders to at least close the delegate gap.
There is one Republican caucus being held in Hawaii.
Here is the list of states holding primaries and caucuses today:
- North Dakota Democratic caucuses – 14 delegates. Caucus doors open at 11 AM CT and close at 7 PM CT.
- Idaho primaries – 20 delegates. Polls close at 10 PM MT.
- Michigan primaries – 125 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET.
- Mississippi primaries – 36 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET.
- Missouri primaries – 68 delegates. Polls close at 8 PM ET.
- Washington primaries – 89 delegates. Polls close at 11 PM ET.
The Democrats abroad primary ends today, although we don’t expect counts to be reported for a couple of day. 21 delegates will be awarded.
The 11th Democratic debate is on March 15 in Phoenix, Arizona, hosted by CNN and Univision. before the next round of primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, on March 17.