Minnesota chooses Biden in Super Tuesday Primary
Catch the latest results and reporting from Minnesota's Super Tuesday election
Biden nabs Klobuchar, Buttigieg support on Super Tuesday eveDALLAS (AP) — Rivals no more, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg united behind Joe Biden's presidential bid on Monday as the Democratic Party's moderate wing scrambled to boost the former vice president just hours before voting began across a series of high-stakes Super Tuesday states.The urgency of the moment reflected deep concerns from the Democratic establishment that Bernie Sanders, a polarizing progressive, was positioned to seize a significant delegate lead when 14 states, one U.S. territory vote on Tuesday.Klobuchar suspended her campaign and endorsed Biden just a day after Buttigieg announced his exit. Both Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who had been Biden's chief competition for their party's pool of more moderate voters over the last year, declared their public support for Biden on Monday evening at a rally in Dallas."I'm looking for a leader, I'm looking for a president, who will draw out what's best in each of us," Buttigieg said. "We have found that leader in vice president, soon-to-be president, Joe Biden."The sweeping shifts come at a key crossroads in Democrats' turbulent primary season as the party struggles to unify behind a clear message or messenger in its urgent quest to defeat President Donald Trump. Yet as a field that once featured more than two dozen candidates shrinks to just five, the choice for primary voters is becoming clearer.On one side stands Biden, a 77-year-old lifelong politician who represents a pragmatic approach to governing that emphasizes bipartisanship and more modest change. On the other stands Sanders, a 78-year-old democratic socialist who has for decades demanded aggressive liberal shifts that seek to transform the nation's political and economic systems.Yet the primary isn't yet a two-man race.New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, in particular, could create problems for Biden's establishment appeal. The former New York City mayor, who will appear on a 2020 ballot for the first time on Tuesday, has invested more than a half billion dollars into his presidential bid and wracked up many high-profile endorsements of his own.And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has struggled for delegates and momentum over the last month, has vowed to stay in the race until the party's national convention in July.On the eve of Super Tuesday, however, Biden received a significant boost following his resounding victory over the weekend in South Carolina.He posted his best two-day fundraising haul in more than a year, raising roughly $10 million over the last 48 hours. And the former vice president added to his considerable endorsement lead in recent days as elected officials began to coalesce more meaningfully behind him. He has long been the favorite of many elected officials even as he struggled through the first three primary contests of the year.Biden's new backers feature a who's who of current and former Democratic officials across the nation: former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid; Obama national security adviser Susan Rice; Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly; former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall; former California Sen. Barbara Boxer; Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.; and Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif.Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg, said he planned to endorse Biden and expected Buttigieg to as well."I do think it's the most logical," Beyer said of a Biden endorsement, given his echo of the former vice president's call for civility, a mantra of the Buttigieg campaign. "I think Joe is the next best possibility."Perhaps the most powerful endorsement would come from former President Barack Obama, who has a relationship with most of the candidates and has talked with several in recent weeks as primary voting has begun. He spoke with Biden to congratulate him after his South Carolina victory, but still has no plans to endorse in the primary at this point.Sanders' team shrugged off Biden's success."It's becoming increasingly clear that the candidates funded by big money and super PACs are coalescing behind Joe Biden, and that's not a surprise," said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' senior strategist. "I think it'll add a lot of clarity to this race."And while Biden's momentum is undeniable, not everyone in his party's moneyed establishment is convinced.Some major donors preferred to wait until after Super Tuesday to decide whether to join the Biden movement. And even some of his more loyal fundraisers remain frustrated by disorganization within the campaign.For example, the former vice president has struggled to raise money in Silicon Valley, where many wealthy donors prioritize organization and a data-driven plan. The inability of Biden's team to demonstrate such competence pushed many donors toward his rivals, and others are taking a wait-and-see approach."We need to see what happens tomorrow, which is going to be very telling," said Alex Sink, a Democratic donor and former Florida gubernatorial candidate who endorsed Bloomberg.And the former vice president's strategy for the coming days, which relies on media coverage and dispatching his new collection of surrogates, reflects a stark reality: Compared to Sanders and Bloomberg, Biden is understaffed, underfunded and almost out of time as he fights to transform his sole South Carolina victory into a national movement.Biden announced he raised $18 million in February, compared to an eye-popping $46.5 million for Sanders and $29 million for Warren.Sanders has struggled to win over his colleagues in Congress but earned a high-profile endorsement of his own on Monday from Democracy for America, a national grassroots organization originally led by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean that boasts thousands of members across the county."The overwhelming support for Bernie we saw in our member vote should be a wake-up call to the broken, visionless, corporate Democratic establishment," said the organization's chair Charles Chamberlain. "Americans want fundamental change in Washington, not a return to the status quo."Some Democrats also bemoaned the distinct lack of diversity in the shrinking field.
The National Organization for Women's political action committee endorsed Warren on Monday. The group's president, Toni Van Pelt, said she's alarmed about the lack of attention paid to the female candidates, who have often had to defend their "electability."
"It's time to support a woman," she said. "We want to make sure we're not looking at all these old white men again."Through four primary contests, the AP allocated 60 delegates to Sanders, 54 to Biden and eight to Warren. Buttigieg and Klobuchar have 26 and seven, respectively.
Candidates who drop out of the race keep the delegates they've won until each state party selects the actual people who will serve as those delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. At that point, delegates won based on statewide primary and caucus results are given to the remaining viable candidates. Delegates won based on results in congressional districts become free agents, who can support the candidate of his or her choice on the first ballot at the convention.The first four states were always more about momentum more than math. Super Tuesday states offer a trove of 1,344 new delegates based on how candidates finish. Just 155 delegates have been awarded so far.
-- Steve Peoples, Brian Slodysko and Jake Bleiberg | Associated Press
Buttigieg's White House bid ensures place in LGBTQ history
A divisive debate over same-sex marriage animated the 2004 presidential election as voters across the country approved constitutional amendments banning such unions. Sixteen years later, with those bans invalidated and his husband by his side, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man to become — however briefly — a leading presidential candidate.
Buttigieg fell short of his goal to win the Democratic nomination and defeat President Donald Trump. But his candidacy will likely be remembered as an example of the remarkable advances made by LGBTQ Americans in their quest for equality and acceptance.
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, suspended his campaign Sunday, saying he saw no path to victory after a poor showing among black voters left him a distant fourth in South Carolina’s primary. But activists hailed Buttigieg as a trailblazer and an inspiration for what they hope will be future waves of LGBTQ candidates at every level of U.S. politics.
“Pete’s candidacy represents a revolution in American politics, forever transforming what is possible for an LGBTQ candidate and making clear America will elect an openly LGBTQ president,” said Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston. She now heads the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which recruits and supports LGBTQ candidates for political office.
“Pete spoke in small-town restaurants in Iowa, held rallies in New Hampshire and battled it out on the presidential debate stage,” Parker said. “He inspired LGBTQ youth to come out in valedictory speeches, to attend their first Pride parade, and to believe America has a place for them.”
Bernie Sanders in St. Paul calls for Klobuchar's supporters to join him
On the eve of Super Tuesday, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his presidential campaign to Minnesota, one of 14 states holding primaries Tuesday.
Around 6,000 people packed into Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul to see Sanders, who was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis.
Sanders' visit came on the same day that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar quit the race and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sanders made a direct appeal to supporters of Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
"So to all of Amy and Pete's millions of supporters, the door is open, come on in!" he said to cheers.
Sanders said all the Democratic candidates share the common goal of defeating President Trump in November.
The Vermont senator called Biden a friend, but said the former vice president is wrong on the issues and is indebted to billionaire campaign contributors.
Click here for a photo gallery and more from the rally: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/03/02/sanders-in-st-paul-calls-for-klobuchars-supporters-to-join-him
Super Tuesday goes on without Klobuchar
In Dallas Monday night, Minnesota U.S. Amy Klobuchar made it official — her presidential campaign is over and she is backing former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Texans we need to unite our country,” Klobuchar said. “ I believe we can do this together and that is why today, I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president."
It was likely not the way Klobuchar thought it would end when she launched her campaign more than a year ago on Boom Island in Minneapolis. Falling snow covered her hair and winter coat as she talked about uniting the country and addressing problems from income inequity to climate change and the high cost of health care.
“I am running for this job for everyone who wants their work recognized and rewarded,” she said.
-- Mark Zdechlik, MPR News
Super Tuesday test: Biden looks to blunt Bernie's rise
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The dizzying fight for the Democratic presidential nomination reaches a critical juncture on Tuesday as millions of voters from Maine to California head to the polls. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has energized liberals and young voters, is seeking to pull away from the rest of the field, while Joe Biden hopes to ride a wave of momentum and establish himself as the standard-bearer for the party's moderate wing.
The Super Tuesday contests in 14 states are also the first test of billionaire Mike Bloomberg's massive spending in the Democratic race. He skipped the first four states, banking on more than half a billion dollars in advertising and ground operations to establish him as a front-runner for the nomination.
The Democratic race has shifted dramatically over the past three days as Biden capitalized on his commanding South Carolina victory to persuade anxious establishment allies to rally behind his campaign. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg abruptly ended their campaigns and endorsed Biden. Another former competitor, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, publicly backed Biden while a new wave of mayors, lawmakers and donors said they would support the former vice president.
Sanders and his closest advisers pushed back against the shift of party establishment and donor class toward Biden. Campaigning in Minnesota, Sanders sought to beat back Biden's momentum with a welcoming message to Klobuchar and Buttigieg supporters.
-- The Associated Press
Klobuchar exit boosts Sanders for Minnesota's Super Tuesday
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The abrupt withdrawal of Amy Klobuchar from the presidential race gave front-runner Bernie Sanders a sudden opportunity for locking up her home state on Super Tuesday.
Sanders, who easily won Minnesota's caucuses in 2016, has a large and motivated progressive base in the state, offsetting Klobuchar's presumed home-field advantage in a race that was increasingly seen as tight before she dropped out Monday. Her departure followed the weekend exit of fellow moderate Pete Buttegieg.
Sanders also had a fortuitously timed last-minute rally in St. Paul on Monday night, which was scheduled days before Klobuchar quit the race. He also had backing from two progressive stars with national followings — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Klobuchar and Buttegieg endorsed Joe Biden as moderates moved to blunt Sander's rise. Biden was fresh off a big win in South Carolina on Saturday but had little campaign organization in Minnesota and hadn't spent significantly in the state. But Mike Bloomberg, also crowding the moderate line, spent heavily on TV ads for weeks in the state as part of a Super Tuesday strategy that bypassed the earliest-voting states. Elizabeth Warren was Sanders' rival among Minnesota progressives.
Minnesota had 75 national convention delegates up for grabs.
It's Minnesota's first presidential primary since 1992, and the first that's binding on both parties since 1956. The state ditched a caucus system after 2016 saw long lines and chaotic gatherings in some places, but the primary system set up by state lawmakers has raised privacy concerns that may dampen turnout. Voters' names and party preferences must be reported to the state's major parties.
President Donald Trump had the Minnesota GOP primary ballot to himself after party leaders decided not to list any Republican challengers, though write-in votes will be allowed.
Early voting began Jan. 17. As of Friday, election officials had accepted over 57,000 Democratic and nearly 9.000 Republican ballots. The early ballots cast for Klobuchar must be counted but became irrelevant once she left the race.
-- Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press
Early Voted For Buttigieg Or Klobuchar? Most Can’t Change That
Voters that already cast their ballots for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — two candidates who recently suspended their campaigns — are calling on their states to rescind early votes.
That said, several states - including California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, and Utah have released statements saying they will not allow early voters to change their mailed or submitted presidential preference.
Additional delegate-rich early voting states on Super Tuesday, including Texas, North Carolina, and Tennessee have not yet released updated statements on allowing early voters to change their submitted votes. But this does come after both North Carolina and Texas reportedly saw an uptake in early vote turnout this cycle.
Looking past Super Tuesday, states could potentially still amend their original early voting restrictions.
According to WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter, Michigan - which votes on March 10 and has 125 delegates - will allow voters to send in a new ballot and void their original one.
Bloomberg Acknowledges He Has No Direct Path To NominationJoe Raedle/Getty Images
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg set low expectations for Super Tuesday, where he is appearing on the ballot for the first time.
At a campaign stop in Miami, Bloomberg acknowledged he might not win any of the 14 states holding contests today but said he would win enough delegates to stay in the race and take it to the convention.
"You don’t have to win states you have to win delegates," he told reporters.
"I think what happens here is nobody gets a majority,” Bloomberg said. “The best somebody’s going to have is a plurality … and then you go to a contested convention and then we’ll see what happens at the convention."
Asked if he was working toward a contested convention, Bloomberg conceded: “I don’t think I can win any other ways.”
Bloomberg is spending the day campaigning in Florida ahead of the state’s March 17 primary.
Black voters seek to flex political power on Super Tuesday
By Kat Stafford
Houston (AP) — Martha Whiting-Goddard believes there’s power in voting — she’s seen it firsthand.
Her great-grandfather, the Rev. John Henry “Jack” Yates, was one of a handful of freed slaves who founded Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in 1866, Houston’s oldest African American Baptist church. The church has historically helped shape the city’s political discourse, ushering powerful African American political leaders through its doors such as Booker T. Washington and women’s suffrage movement organizers.
Parishioners here are planning to band together again Tuesday to shape the course of American history. They are heading to the polls to decide which Democrat should take on President Donald Trump in the fall in what many black voters say is the most important election of their lifetimes.
The Super Tuesday contest in Texas and a swath of other states with substantial black populations are the biggest opportunity yet for minority voters from coast to coast to weigh in on the tumultuous Democratic primary. And for people like Whiting-Goddard, it's a reminder of their power.
“For black people, we have someone in power that's kind of put us back in time and so we need to look to the future,” the 70-year-old said. “Voting was the one right that we recognized long ago that we had that was important."
Black voters have already helped transform the Democratic race. Nearly two thirds of non-white voters in South Carolina backed Joe Biden on Saturday, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of more than 1,400 voters in the state's Democratic primary. They revived what had been a lagging campaign into one that has quickly emerged as the leading moderate alternative to progressive Bernie Sanders.
Biden is looking to Houston to help keep the momentum going.
“The decision Democrats make tomorrow and the next few weeks will determine what we stand for, what we believe, and where we’re going to go," he said Monday at the historically black Texas Southern University.
But activists caution against assuming that black voters in Texas or elsewhere will follow South Carolina's lead.
Cliff Albright, the co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, said he believes African American voters nationally are split into three groups: Those who are concerned about electability, voters who want progressive policies and individuals who are agnostic and prepared to vote regardless of who advances to November.
“It’s going to be interesting to see some of the other states that have a different culture than South Carolina that might separate out black voters in some of these Super Tuesday states," Albright said.
Houston resident Linda Nwoke said she’s most familiar with Biden, who spent eight years as Barack Obama's vice president. But she has yet to decide who to throw her support behind among the crowded field.
“We’re trying to see who can we trust with our vote and not let it be wasted again,” Nwoke, a 72-year-old retired history teacher, said. “A lot of them don’t have a history with us yet they always come after our vote.”
Five presidential hopefuls remain after three candidates, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg, dropped out of the race before Super Tuesday.
Black Lives Matter Houston founder Ashton Woods, a 35-year-old millennial who is running for the Texas House District 146 seat, said the organization decided in February to officially endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Her and Bernie have been the two people who have talked about issues that affect black people but affect everyone else with a special recognition that we are marginalized and that it hits us a little harder without pandering,” Woods said.
Voters like Houston resident Natasha Turner, 45, said candidates must realize that African American voters are not monolithic and are concerned about a myriad of issues.
“We are looking for a candidate who will center African American concerns for once," Turner said. "We want our just due. This nation was built on the backs of African Americans and yet we have not seen any of the benefits of that. As a matter of fact, at every turn, we are seeing ourselves being deterred from making any strides economically.”
Texas resident Josie James-Hamilton has identified as a Republican her entire life until she cast a vote for President Barack Obama in 2008. James-Hamilton, 62, said that changed when Trump was elected.
“Until recently, I did have a lot of conservative views that I agreed with because many black voters are a lot more conservative than you think," she said. "The problem I’m having right now is that I don’t see a Democratic candidate that I feel has the ability to unseat Trump.”
Michael Adams, Texas Southern University's political science department chair, said he believes older black women will show up as expected to the polls but he believes younger voters could shake up the election.
“In both Texas and in California right now, there's a progressive element and African Americans of course have been a very loyal constituency and part of the Democratic Party base, both nationally and here in Texas,” Adams said.
The 2020 election will be the first one that University of Houston junior Kenneth Davis III will cast his vote in. The 20-year-old said he plans to vote for Sanders.
“The laws that are being passed affect real people and we have to have a seat at the table, especially millennials, Gen Z and the generation behind us,” Davis said.
Veteran Tashandra Poullard, a Texas Southern University senior who served 10 years in the U.S. Navy, said Democrats are potentially alienating younger black voters who are frustrated that the field went from the most diverse to an all-white slate, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is polling near or at zero among black voters.
“A lot of them are saying they wanted Cory Booker and they were even willing to back Kamala Harris but they said there's no one that looks like us up there now,” Poullard, 42, said. “They don't have that warm and fuzzy feeling that they did when Barack Obama was running for office because they feel there's no representation for us as a people."
Bernie Sanders drops by his own polling place on Super Tuesday
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders drove himself and his wife Jane to their own polling place in Burlington on Super Tuesday, parking his Subaru and joking to the gathered crowd that he wanted to make sure at least two people voted for him in his home state.
After casting his own vote, Sanders spoke briefly to press outside, calling it a “very, very important day” and said his campaign looks forward to doing well.
He gave a short version of his stump speech, saying families in this country want “an economy and a government that works for all and not just the few.”
He also said if there’s a Democratic campaign that can beat President Trump, it’s his.
“We have the grassroots movement all over this country,” Sanders said. “Up to now, we have knocked on, I believe, some 2 million doors all across this country from Maine to California. We are putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of people who are standing up for justice. And to beat Donald Trump, we are going to need to have the largest voter turnout in the history of this country. We need energy. We need excitement. I think our campaign is that campaign.”
Franklin Paulino got to the Robert Miller Community Center polling place early with signs supporting Sanders, hoping to catch a glimpse of the senator.
Paulino says a top issue for him is health care and he likes Sanders’ proposal for Medicare for All.
He said that while he’s optimistic Sanders will do well overall on Super Tuesday, he’s concerned about the recent endorsements from Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I think it’s a little bit concerning that it happened right before Super Tuesday,” Paulino said. “It certainly puts [Sanders] in a tough position. And it was all done very last minute, so it’s unfortunate.”
At stake Tuesday are 1,357 delegates among 14 states — about a third of all delegates. Sanders is the overwhelming favorite to pick up all 16 of his home state’s delegates, as he did in 2016.
Deadly tornadoes disrupt voting in Tennessee
Polls opened in 14 states this morning for Super Tuesday, but voting in Tennessee was disrupted by unexpectedly violent tornadoes that swept through the state overnight, killing at least 22 people. Numerous polling sites in and around Nashville opened an hour late or never opened at all.
In Putnam County, east of Nashville, voters were told they would have to cast their ballots at the county election office rather than in their usual precincts. In locations without power, election officials were relying on generators to keep the polls open.
Gov. Bill Lee warned residents to be careful making their way around damaged areas, but he said the state would do what it could to "make it possible for as many folks as we can to vote."
While officials said polls would still close at the scheduled time, 7 p.m., pressure was growing to extend voting hours to accommodate the delays and closures.
Election Protection, a coalition of voting rights groups, sent a letter to Lee and state election officials asking that primary voting in Tennessee be extended through at least the end of the week “to provide voters a fair opportunity to access the polls." The group said it would seek "appropriate relief if necessary," implying that it would go to court if the hours are not extended.
Other than the disruptions in Tennessee, federal security officials say they have not seen any unusual or disruptive activity. A senior official with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters this morning that officials have seen no unusual spikes in social media disinformation intended to disrupt the election.
The agency’s website on Tuesday briefly redirected users seeking polling place information to a liberal political action committee website, which asked for some personal data. Secretary of State Steve Simon described it as a “serious lapse of judgment” by a staff person.
UCLA students torn between electability and voting with their heartsMonika Evstatieva/NPR
The concept of electability was on the minds of many of the hundreds of students who waited in line to cast their vote today at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has long been a favorite among college students across the country. Many have been attracted to him for his stances on universal health care and free college tuition and his long record on speaking against income inequality.
Mitchell Sventor, 20, was among those waiting in line. He is voting for Sanders.
“Mainly because I agree the most with his principles. I think he’s been the most consistent over time, as opposed to someone like Joe Biden, who is definitely like the establishment choice,” he explains.
His friend Luis Sanchez, 21, also supports Sanders. “He inspires me the most. All the other candidates don’t really do that,” he adds.
But today some students said they are changing their minds, despite their clear preference for both Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
As Brooke Rosenberg, 20, waited to cast her vote, she was still undecided. Rosenberg followed the news over the past few days and it gave her pause.
“I am a little torn, but I think I will go for Biden,” she explains. “I really like Elizabeth Warren, but I just don’t think a woman is going to win this election, unfortunately. Also, I don’t want [President] Trump to, like, tear her down. And then I do really like a lot of Bernie’s ideas, but I don’t think he’s in the lead at all. So I might as well support the person who’s going to beat Trump.”
Methu Pal, 18, from the Bay Area, who was in line behind Rosenberg, agrees.
“I do like Bernie’s ideas, but I think a lot of them are unrealistic. So, if he was put against Trump, I don’t think he would win,” she says. “He’s making a lot of promises that take more than four years to accomplish.”
I asked them to tell me if they didn’t worry about electability, who would they support from their heart. “Warren … because I think she’s a really strong woman,” Rosenberg says right away. “Bernie,” Patal adds. “Because I like his ideas the most, even though they may seem unrealistic, like if they were successful, I think they would be really great for the country and for young people.”
As I walk out of the hall one student whispers to me about his choice. He is worried about his sibling and does not want to speak on the record. “My sister will disown me.” She is idealistic, he explains. “But Biden is the only one who can defeat Trump.”