Minnesota chooses Biden in Super Tuesday Primary
Catch the latest results and reporting from Minnesota's Super Tuesday election
Youth vote not keeping pace with overall turnout increase
One number to watch across the 14 states that vote today is the percentage of the electorate that young voters are compared to 2016, because — so far — youth voter turnout is not keeping pace with the overall Democratic voter turnout increase.
Bernie Sanders has made a key selling point that his nomination would lead to record turnout among young voters.
Turnout in the 2020 Democratic nominating contest has spiked 26 percent from 2016, according to raw voter totals in the first four elections in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. But the youth vote — voters 18 to 29 — are up only 5 percent, according to an NPR analysis of raw vote results and publicly available entrance and exit polls conducted by Edison Research and paid for by most of the major television networks.
What’s more, young voters have been down as a share of the electorate in all states except Iowa.
So far, roughly 1.1 million people have voted in the Democratic contests. That’s up from about 874,000 after the first four contests of 2016. Roughly 157,000 voters 18 to 29 have come out in the first four contests compared to about 150,000 in 2016.
Trump: ‘Interesting night of television' ahead
President Trump said he's getting ready to watch the results of the Super Tuesday races unfold.
“It’s going to be a very interesting evening of television. I think it’s really going to be something,” Trump told reporters after touring a vaccine lab at the National Institutions of Health. He noted that it will likely be a late night with some races on the west coast.
Trump has repeatedly weighed in on his potential rivals for president. In recent days, he has accused the Democratic establishment of trying to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming the nominee.
He offered that assessment again on Tuesday. “I don’t know what’s happened with Bernie. I think they’re trying to take it away from him. I don’t know if that’s fair, but I guess that’s politics,” Trump said.— Ayesha Rascoe
Leonard Wheeler, a chemical dependency counselor from Brainerd, voted for Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. "I want change, we need change and it's important," he said. Wheeler said that what Bernie wants to do aligns with his hopes for the future. "Socialize medicine — all big countries have it ... we need to change things, we need to take care of our people, and not the rich."
Photo and reporting by Kirsti Marohn | MPR News
Opalina Peralta is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band. She voted for Bernie Sanders Tuesday morning in Bemidji. She plans to go to law school, and hopes he'll make college debt a thing of the past. Housing is another issue important to Peralta. "My rent is going up and my pay is not going up with it." One of her main hopes for Minnesota's future is that the homelessness rate goes down and more affordable housing is made available. "You know everyone needs to work, everybody wants a place to live and I really hope that we can go forward and have a place that we all love."
Photo and reporting by John Enger
Brainerd Dispatch: Voter turnout low, but somewhat steady, area cities say about state's first presidential primary since 1992The paper reports a quiet day of voting in central Minnesota."I like the primary. I think that more people are able to participate in a primary and I really appreciate that because I think more people should be involved in the political process. I do miss the caucus craziness a little bit, and feeling like you can make your voice heard a little bit more in the caucus, but the caucus is still happening. People can still be involved in those and I think some people missed out on that part" -- Aaron Pearson, of Pequot Lakes.
Many Democratic voters made last-minute picks
WASHINGTON (AP) — Many Democratic voters in Super Tuesday's presidential primaries made up their minds just before casting a ballot — a sign of fluidity in a race recently upended by Joe Biden's blowout in South Carolina.
The share of late deciders ranged from about a quarter of voters in Texas to roughly half in Minnesota, according to AP VoteCast surveys of voters in several Super Tuesday contests. Moderate and conservative voters in each state were slightly more likely than their liberal counterparts to delay a decision to the last minute.
The indecision shows voters grappling with their choices in a race that is changing quickly. Biden's big win in South Carolina on Saturday revived his struggling campaign and helped push three of his rivals toward the exit.
Biden is now trying to consolidate moderate voters, block Sen. Bernie Sanders, box out Sen. Elizabeth Warren and overcome the hundreds of millions spent by billionaire Mike Bloomberg — who is on the ballot for the first time Tuesday. Further complicating the possible outcomes on Tuesday was that many people voted early.
Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia — who they are and what matters to them — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast surveys, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. Additional polling results will be added throughout the night.
Moderates and conservatives
Moderates and conservative accounted for the majority of Democratic voters in most of the seven states, just as they have in previous contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Those primary voters also generally preferred a presidential candidate who would pursue practical centrist policies rather than one who would champion bold liberal policies.
Still, roughly half of voters, or more, in each state indicated they wanted to see a candidate who would fundamentally change how the political system works in Washington over one who would return the political system to the way it was before President Donald Trump was elected.
Looking toward November
The Democratic contests do appear to be drawing some potential swing voters. About 20% of voters said Democrats haven't locked in their vote and are waiting to see who wins the nomination before deciding how they'll vote in November. That was true in six of the seven states AP survey. The share was smaller — about 1 in 10 — in Minnesota, a state Trump is trying to flip.
Most of this group identified as moderates or conservatives, a sign that they might be open to Trump or consider not voting for any candidate in November.
Democratic candidates have been tasked with proving they can bring together a multiracial and multi-ethnic coalition in order to compete in November. Several states voting on Tuesday, including Alabama, Texas, California and Virginia, offer a chance to test their appeal.
More than half of Alabama’s Democratic primary voters were African American, and all voters in this state gave an edge to Biden over Sanders and other candidates on who could best handle race-related issues as president.
Biden also enjoys an advantage on racial issues over Sanders from voters in North Carolina and Virginia.
In Texas, over half of Democratic primary voters were non-white, including about 30% who were Latino. Voters in the state thought Biden would be best able to handle immigration.
Not quite happy with Bloomberg
The former mayor of New York City — worth an estimated $60 billion — deployed his fortune on TV spots, social media memes and a whirlwind tour of the country. But a large share of Democratic voters seems unhappy with the possibility of him being the presidential nominee.
About 60% of voters in Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts — his birthplace — said they would be dissatisfied if Bloomberg was the Democratic candidate. Roughly half in North Carolina and Virginia would also be displeased.
Only in Alabama and Texas would a majority be satisfied by Bloomberg. These results suggest that Bloomberg is among the more divisive candidates still seeking the nomination.
Across all seven states, the other three major candidates — Biden, Sanders and Warren — all see more positive than negative ratings from voters. Majorities said they would be satisfied if any of the three were the nominee.
— Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut | Associated Press
Biden Projected To Win VirginiaJosh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
With 99 delegates up for grabs in Virginia, the state’s results are an early indication of whether and how moderate Democrats are coalescing around Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton won here by almost 30 points over Bernie Sanders in 2016.
Lauren Crabtree, 19, lives in Brainerd, working in food industry and hopes to move to larger city. Crabtree voted for Bernie Sanders and says raising minimum wage and creating better conditions for workers are her top issues. For Minnesota's future, she said she'd like to see people feel empowered to express more progressive ideas.
Photo and reporting by Kirsti Marohn | MPR News
Health care top issue in Minnesota
AP — Voters in Minnesota’s Democratic primary ranked health care as the most important issues facing the country, well above the economy, race relations, foreign policy and many other social issues.
About 4 in 10 named health care, an issue that has intensely divided the field of Democratic candidates. Another 3 in 10 had climate change on their minds, according to a wide-ranging AP VoteCast survey of the Democratic primary electorate in Minnesota.
Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Minnesota — who they are and what matters to them — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 1,186 voters, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
Do they want a big change?
Somewhat more voters in Minnesota’s Democratic primary said they wanted a candidate who would bring fundamental change to Washington, rather than one who would restore the political system to how it was before Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
But change in Washington doesn’t look the same to everyone. About 6 in 10 voters said they preferred a candidate who will pursue practical, centrist policies to one pursuing bold liberal policies.
What else do voters want
Nearly 9 in 10 said it was very important that a nominee can beat Trump, and about 8 in 10 considered strong leadership highly important.
Roughly 7 in 10 said it was very important that a candidate cares about people like them.
Having “the right experience,” being willing to work across the aisle and having the best policy ideas were considered very significant for a Democratic nominee by about 6 in 10 voters.
Largely unified against Trump
A wide majority say they will definitely vote for the Democratic candidate against Trump in the general election. Still, about 1 in 10 say their decision will depend on which Democrat is on the ballot in November.
Primary process skepticism
Voters are skeptical that the Democratic Party’s nomination process is fair. Close to 1 in 10 say they are very confident that the process for selecting a presidential nominee is fair. Roughly 3 in 10 have little to no confidence, while about half say they are somewhat confident.
Debating health care
The campaign has featured a contentious debate among candidates over the best way to tackle health care, an issue seen as the most important facing the country by roughly 4 in 10 voters.
There is majority support for a government-run health care system for all Americans, with about 7 in 10 voters saying they are in favor. Roughly a third are opposed.
But support for a public option, where every American could buy into a government-run insurance plan if they wanted to, is even higher. About 9 in 10 are in favor.
About 6 in 10 voters are in favor of either proposal, while about 3 in 10 say they favor a public option but oppose a single-payer system.
Climate change, the economy and other issues
Roughly 3 in 10 voters said climate change is the most important issue facing the nation. A wide majority — about 8 in 10 — expressed support for a tax on the use of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.
Just about 1 in 10 called the economy the top issue. But a significant majority described the economic system in this country as unfair. That includes about 4 in 10 who said it’s very unfair.
Small shares of voters considered race relations, immigration, gun policy or abortion most important.
AP VoteCast is a survey of the American electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News. The survey of 1,186 voters in Minnesota was conducted for seven days, concluding as polls closed. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The survey is based on interviews with a random sample of registered voters drawn from the state voter file. The margin of sampling error for voters is estimated to be plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.
Candidates spend big bucks in delegate-rich states
California, Texas and North Carolina have the most delegates in play tonight - 753 in total - making it no surprise that ad spending totals are highest in these three states.
With only five candidates remaining in the race, the top three spenders in each state vary drastically, since former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is dropping hundreds of millions of dollars on ads around the country, while the majority of candidates are spending much less.
The best example can be seen in California, which has 415 delegates.
Bloomberg has spent $71 million, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at $7 million and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at $82,000.
Similar comparisons are seen in Texas, which has 228 delegates, and North Carolina which has 110 delegates. Bloomberg has shelled out the most money, followed by Sanders and Warren.
Sanders projected to win Vermont
Vermont is Bernie Sanders’ home state, which he has served as senator since 2007. He was the overwhelming favorite to pick up all 16 delegates here, as he did in 2016.
WATCH: How super is Super Tuesday
Before Super Tuesday, just 4% of all the total delegate count had been allocated, and after Super Tuesday, that goes up to about 40%.
In total, there at 1,357 delegates at stake tonight, including the large states of California, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia.
Doing well on Super Tuesday is crucial for candidates, and although no one can come out of tonight as the presumptive Democratic nominee, a clear front-runner could be established.
Here’s an explainer video on just how important tonight is for the five remaining candidates.Twitter“With about a third of all delegates at stake, #SuperTuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Here's how to keep track of the winners when fourteen states hold nominating contests today: https://t.co/qEqSWiyFcb”
Voters' hopes for Minnesota's futureWe asked Minnesotans what the most important issues are to their lives and what their hopes are for Minnesota's future. Here's what a few of them had to say. Share your own story here!"Health care costs are too high. As a baby boomer, I know that health costs increase in late life. Not everyone can afford, and certainly not afford an increase. [Another important issue,] Minnesota tax on social security income. This is ridiculous to tax us on our voluntary retirement planning and preparedness." — John, White Bear Township"Support for public education at all levels. We do not have a surplus! What we have is under-funding of important services. In my opinion, education is the biggest of these. When I was in college, my first two years at community college were tuition and transportation free. I graduated from SCSU with a debt of $800 with a BS in Medical Technology predominately because Minnesota taxpayers paid a much greater share of this investment in the future." — Marian, Brainerd"Education funding, fully funded mandates from the federal government, they create mandates to better serve students and then don't fund the mandates. Good for saying I backed this, not good for children. Can't have it both ways! Health care choices, civility in the political discourse!" — Virginia, Lake Elmo"Health care — We have 'good insurance' yet high deductibles are causing stress. My parents on Medicare are feeling the squeeze to. The cost of daycare is also crazy." — Nathan, Minneapolis"I'd like to see better supports for those on the lower rung of the ladder. I think we have a good start, but we still have work to do." — Tammy, Rochester"Taking action on climate change, reducing pollution and waste, more composting and recycling." — Susan, Hugo"I would like to see individual city taxes go away. As a small business, in some cities you have an added tax. Making it difficult to work through out the state. It’s an accounting nightmare." — Check, Melrose"Preservation of natural areas, continued extension of help and aid to those in need, increased education funding, free tuition for residents to state colleges, some form of universal health care." — Stefan, Osseo"Take care of our farmers and those who need financial help to survive." — Beverly Owatonna"More autonomy for the state to pursue policies and agendas for our people rather than waiting on the federal government to come up with solutions. This include creating a Minnesota public option for insurance, creating a better pharmaceutical and hospital system, promoting immigration from other states and countries, upholding rule of law, and protecting the environment by switching to 100 percent nuclear power (or renewables)." — Peter, St. Paul"I hope we continue to grow and raise our leadership around the country in economic growth and climate sustainability. Also, legal marijuana." — Nick, Minneapolis"I would like us to become the most eco-friendly state to show other states it’s possible. People will always adapt we just need big corporations to make the changes." — Sarah, St. Louis Park"I'd like to see greater investments in education and our rural communities. So often the metro area and Greater Minnesota are discussed as enemies. I hope issues like rural broadband and more equitable funding in education can create a state with united civic pride." — Kristian, Golden Valley
Bloomberg ‘absolutely not’ dropping out, but will 'assess'
Bloomberg Campaign Manager Kevin Sheekey shot down speculation that his candidate will exit the race today, but contradicted Mike Bloomberg’s comments earlier today that he was willing to wage a convention fight for the nomination.
“Absolutely not,” Sheekey told reporters about reports that Bloomberg was being advised to exit the race tonight. He said the campaign would assess where it stands after Super Tuesday. “I think you make an assessment in any campaign like this after every time that there’s a vote. We have not had a vote yet so we have not had to assess.”
Sheekey directly contradicted Bloomberg’s statement in Miami today that his only path to the nomination was a contested convention—a fight he was willing to wage. “I don’t happen to think Democrats will have a contested convention,” Sheekey said, “I heard him, and that may be true, it may not.”
He added: “As of right now we’re committed to stay in [until the convention] but we’ll see what happens today.”
Sheekey notably praised former Vice President Joe Biden – noting he donated to his campaign before Bloomberg entered the race – and said one of the two candidates will be the nominee. “I know the vice president personally, I find him to be one of the most decent public servants I’ve ever met,” he said, “I expect one of them to be the nominee and I expect the other to be supporting that person.”
Sheekey also rejected the characterization of Bloomberg as a spoiler against Biden on the ballot who threatened to siphon votes from Biden and allow Bernie Sanders to walk away with more delegates. “Look, I think Mike Bloomberg is either the candidate for the party, or the single most important person helping that candidate defeat Donald Trump,” he said, “To me that’s the opposite of a spoiler.”
Sheekey stressed Bloomberg’s commitment to continuing to spend resources in 2020 to defeat Trump, even if Sanders wins the nomination. “They agree on something that’s really important, which is this president has to be removed from office.”
He added: “We will find out how well [Bloomberg] does tonight. And we’ll find out whether Mike Bloomberg is on his way to becoming the candidate, or we will find out that Mike Bloomberg is going to be the most important person to whomever that candidate will be.”
Bloomberg vastly outspending opponents on Super Tuesday ads
Today marks the first set of elections where former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is officially on the ballot — and in preparation, he’s shelled out an extraordinary amount of money to make his candidacy known.
Since announcing his candidacy in late November, the multibillionaire has spent $500 million on ads around the country.
In Super Tuesday states alone, Bloomberg has spent about a quarter of a billion dollars on ads — per data from Advertising Analytics through Feb. 27.
He has spent the most money in California ($71 million,) Texas ($53 million,) and North Carolina ($15 million) — which are the three states offering the most delegates today.
And compared to his competitors Bloomberg leads in ad spending by about $200 million.
Late momentum boosts Biden in Virginia
AP — Joe Biden's late momentum was real in Virginia, a state likely to be a top battleground in November. About 4 in 10 voters there said they made a late decision about whom to vote for in the primary. About half of them went for the former vice president, who has been called the winner in the state by AP.
Biden's coalition there looks like it has elsewhere. He won about half of voters ages 45 and older, the majority of voters in the state. Black voters were far more likely to support Biden than any other candidate. Close to half of those who attend religious services at least monthly backed Biden.
Biden won about half of moderates and conservatives — and even about 30% of liberals, chipping away at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' core supporters.
Sanders continued his strength among young voters — winning about half of those under 30. Latino voters were slightly more likely to show support for Sanders than for Biden.
Among white voters, 4 in 10 supported Biden, while about 2 in 10 went for Sanders and about 1 in 10 each supported former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Health care stood out to about a third of voters in Virginia’s Democratic primary as the top issue facing the nation. Roughly 2 in 10 each had climate change and the economy on their minds.
Roughly a third of voters in Virginia said they were behind a public option health insurance plan, but not “Medicare for All.” About half of voters favored both proposals.
Steven McKnight, 37, of Brainerd, owns a secondhand clothing store. He voted for Bernie Sanders, "For a lot of reasons. Medicare for all is a huge one, increased public education, infrastructure — taking care of folks in our country in a way that we haven't before." He wants his kids to live in a better world than his generation inherited. "I think we can do it."
Photo and reporting by Kirsti Marohn | MPR News
A contested convention is a hot topic, but unlikely
The Democratic primary race is split, with divisions seemingly deepening by the day — leading to lots of talk about a contested or brokered Democratic convention.
It’s rare, but that’s what would need to happen if no single candidate is able to get 1,991 delegates ahead after all the state run-offs.
Today, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged he can’t get enough delegates to be the nominee without a contested or brokered convention.
"I don’t think that I can win any other way,” he said.
But such a convention still seems like a long shot for reasons of timing. The convention isn’t until July — but 90% of the delegates will be allocated by the end of April.
So it seems pretty unlikely the nomination and division would be allowed to hang in the balance for three months. There may be some brokering, but it will likely happen in that period — not at the convention in Milwaukee.