Minnesota chooses Biden in Super Tuesday Primary | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minnesota chooses Biden in Super Tuesday Primary

Catch the latest results and reporting from Minnesota's Super Tuesday election

    by Michael Olson, MPR News via MPR News 3/4/2020 12:47:18 AM

    Democratic voters unhappy with idea of Bloomberg as nominee

    Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has spent millions of dollars in an aggressive bid for the Democratic presidential nomination — but according to AP VoteCast data, a large share of Democratic primary voters say they would be dissatisfied if he were the nominee.

    Roughly 60% of voters in Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts — three of the 14 states that vote on Super Tuesday — say they would be dissatisfied if Bloomberg is the party’s nominee to take on President Trump, according to VoteCast.

    About half the voters in North Carolina and Virginia said they would not be happy with the pick, said VoteCast, which is a survey of the American electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Former Vice President Joe Biden was projected to win both those states on Tuesday.

    Super Tuesday voting extended in Nashville due to storms

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A judge has ruled that Super Tuesday polls will stay open later in Nashville in the wake of deadly overnight tornadoes that delayed the start of voting in the city and rendered some of its polling places unusable.

    The Tennessee Democratic Party said Tuesday that it succeeded in a lawsuit against the Davidson County elections commission and Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office to extend voting hours in the tornado-stricken county. Four Democratic presidential campaigns are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

    “This is a victory for all voters and this decision will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in this historic election,” said Mary Mancini, state Democratic Party chairwoman.

    Some polling sites in Nashville’s Davidson County and Wilson County were moved, and sites across the two counties opened an hour late but initially were slated to close at the same time, Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. Gov. Bill Lee said the state has deployed generators to polling stations that have reported that they don’t have power.

    Hargett spokeswoman Julia Bruck said only the judge had the authority to make the decision to extend hours.

    “We do not have the ability to extend voting hours in Tennessee, and it’s important to note this order only applies to Davidson County,” Bruck said.

    Davidson County polls will stay open until 8 p.m. local time, and five polling sites will stay open until 10 p.m.: two available for all voters, and three set aside for voters in precincts who were rerouted due to the storms, the state party said.

    Hargett’s office said Davidson County won’t be able to report early voting results until after 10 p.m., while other counties can report their early voting results as their polls close.

    At least 25 people were killed by the twisters, which shredded dozens of buildings. One of tornadoes caused severe damage across downtown Nashville.

    “Of course we want people to exercise caution in areas like downtown Nashville where there’s damage in the streets and that sort of thing,” Lee said at a news conference Tuesday. “But we also want folks to exercise their rights and get out there and vote. It’s a very important day for that.”

    Nashville Mayor John Cooper said alternate sites were arranged for 15 polling places out of the 169 precincts in Nashville’s combined city-county area.

    The disaster has complicated voting in a presidential race reshaped by Joe Biden’s blowout South Carolina win and exits by Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Democratic presidential campaigns have continued to make their Super Tuesday case in Tennessee through TV ads and appearances.

    The former vice president deployed his wife, Jill Biden, to Tennessee on Sunday for a meet-and-greet in Memphis and a fundraiser in Nashville, then she toured a Nashville middle school Monday morning.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders, spent Wednesday making multiple stops in Nashville. Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent actress Ashley Judd to make stops for her in Nashville on Monday. Judd’s scheduled appearances for Election Day were canceled due to the tornadoes.

    And billionaire Mike Bloomberg made three stops Friday in Tennessee, speaking in Memphis, Clarksville and Johnson City. The former New York City mayor has made four trips to Tennessee as a candidate — more than any of his rivals — and has hired the most staffers throughout the state. His multimillion-dollar ad campaign in Tennessee has been the easiest to spot on local TV airwaves.

    Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, held a rally Saturday in Nashville, only to see a dismal outcome in South Carolina and drop out of the presidential race Sunday. Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, held a Nashville event Friday, then left the contest Monday.

    Tennessee’s 73 delegates also could prove vital for candidates needing to show momentum in the rapidly thinning race. Just seven other states will have more delegates than Tennessee on Super Tuesday.

    In a state where a Republican holds every major elected office, including seven of the nine congressional seats, the Democratic primary voting base has a history of being more moderate than that of other states.

    Even though Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Tom Steyer recently dropped out of contention, they’ll still see their share of votes: More than 169,400 Democratic primary votes in Tennessee were already cast ahead of Tuesday through early and absentee ballots. Early voting began Feb. 12.

    — Jonathan Mattise | Associated Press

    Biden projected to win Alabama

    With 52 delegates, Alabama is the most heavily African American Democratic electorate of Super Tuesday, and Biden hoped to win big here.

    — Amita Kelly, NPR Politics Editor

    Warren tells supporters 'I am in this fight'

    Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY | AFP via Getty Images
    An upbeat Elizabeth Warren is urging Democratic voters to cast ballots that will make them “proud” instead of listening to political pundits.

    At a rally in Detroit on Tuesday night, the Massachusetts senator says “prediction has been a terrible business” and is encouraging people to vote with their “heart.” Warren has had poor showings in recent contests dominated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

    People are still voting in many Super Tuesday states across the country. Michigan’s primary is next week, and Warren has scheduled a return trip for Friday.

    An undeterred Warren says she will defeat President Donald Trump and is still running because she believes she will make the best president. She says: “You don’t get what you don’t fight for. I am in this fight.”

    — Associated Press

    Cecilia Laden of Minneapolis shared what motivated her to come out and vote on Super Tuesday.

    Warren says stop strategizing, ‘vote from your heart’

    Warren spoke in Detroit Tuesday night before most states had reported their results. Her event was much more of a standard Warren campaign rally than an election-night celebration. But she kicked off her stump speech with a new passage, telling people to stop trying to strategize around electability with their votes:

    “What I see happening is a lot of folks trying to turn voting into some complicated strategy. You know, pundits, friends, neighbors, are all saying you have to second-guess yourself on this.

    “They’re playing games about prediction and strategy: ‘Guess what your neighbors are up to here?’ But prediction has been a terrible business, and the pundits have gotten it wrong over and over.

    “So here’s my advice: cast a vote that will make you proud. Cast a vote from your heart. And vote for the person you think will make the best president of the United States of America.”

    Warren was met with a loud, enthusiastic crowd: the campaign reported 2,200 in attendance at the rally. Still, by the time she finished speaking, AP results showed her well behind the winners in the four states that had been called.

    Biden racks up string of early wins

    It’s still early as results from the states with the largest delegates hauls — Texas and California — aren’t in yet, but former Vice President Joe Biden is on a roll so far.

    He is projected to win primaries in three southern states — Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama. All three were called relatively soon after the polls closed in those states, signaling some real momentum coming out of his big win in South Carolina’s primary on Saturday. As in South Carolina, Biden’s strength with African American voters — a core constituency in the party — helped propel him to pick up the lead in delegates over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — at least for now.

    Biden’s quick turnaround in a matter of days followed his strong showing in South Carolina, but was also fueled by a string of endorsements from former rivals in the Democratic primary race — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

    The rapid coalescing from the centrist candidates around Biden showed an effort by party leaders to try to unite around a single alternative to Sanders. Sanders won his home state of Vermont and his campaign points to strong operations in other big Super Tuesday states with results later on Tuesday and enthusiasm from loyal supporters and an ability to draw new voters.

    DHS says everything going according to plan, but be patient

    A number of states reported election technology issues throughout the day Tuesday, but national security officials say those are isolated incidents. There is no evidence of any election interference aimed at voting systems, Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters at a briefing Tuesday afternoon.

    In California, 15 counties had issues connecting to the state’s voter registration system, which then required a server to be reconfigured and restarted, according to the California secretary of state. In Minnesota, an online polling-place locator crashed, and a staffer mistakenly then linked to a partisan website for voters to get information.

    Long lines and voting machine failures have been reported in Texas as well.

    None of that is out of the ordinary for an election involving tens of millions of votes, however, says Chris Krebs, the director of the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

    “These are intermittent I.T. issues that are resolved, all the systems are back up online. All the systems look green right now,” Krebs said. “We are not aware of any persistent long-term issues related to the election infrastructure in the United States right now.”

    Krebs, and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, spoke with reporters from a war room full of election experts, voting machine vendor representatives, and national security officials.

    That sort of coordination wasn’t present in 2016 when Russia staged an attack on American democracy, Krebs said.

    Although there isn’t evidence at this point of the sort of cyber attacks operatives staged four years ago, disinformation efforts on social media have continued. Officials say they haven’t seen a spike on Tuesday, but that it’s more of a “steady and constant flow.”

    “The Russians never left after 2016,” Krebs said.

    The voting advocacy coalition Election Protection says it has filed an FEC complaint about a robocall that went out to some voters saying the primary election was Wednesday and not Tuesday.

    Federal officials also stressed patience Tuesday night, as states such as California and Texas have made it clear they may not have complete results by the time many people in the Eastern time zone want to go to bed.

    “Tonight’s unofficial results as they come in, are just that: They’re unofficial,” Wolf said. “It takes time for state and local officials to count and certify results, so we ask for your patience, which is absolutely critical for the process.”

    “I am not planning to endorse,” Hillary Clinton tells NPR

    Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 race, told NPR on Tuesday that she will not publicly endorse anyone in her party’s race in 2020.

    “I am not planning to endorse,” Clinton, the former secretary of state, said in an interview. “I am going to say the same thing I’ve been saying from the beginning of this vigorous primary contest: I hope the voters will pick the person that is most able to beat Donald Trump in the electoral college. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.”

    Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 but lost the electoral college. She said Democrats need to rally around a 2020 candidate who can defeat Trump regardless of the electoral college.

    When asked about growing support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who Clinton ran against in 2016 and is the current front-runner for 2020, Clinton emphasized that the race is far from over. She said former Vice President Joe Biden’s win in the South Carolina primary on Saturday was a sign of that.

    Clinton also dismissed complaints from the party’s growing progressive wing about the Democratic “establishment.”

    “If the ‘establishment’ means you put your head down, you get to work, you figure out how you’re going to pay for things, you build a coalition, you actually make change — then I think that’s a misnomer,” Clinton said.

    Tornado, virus fears, machines disrupt voting in some states

    Deadly tornadoes knocked out polling places in Tennessee, fears over the coronavirus left some precincts in California and Texas short of election workers, and overwhelmed voting systems led to long lines in Los Angeles as Super Tuesday sent voters surging to the polls in 14 states.

    Scattered reports of polling places opening late, machines malfunctioning or voter rolls being down temporarily disrupted voting in some of the states voting Tuesday, but there were no widespread reports of voters being unable to cast a ballot or security breaches.

    Just hours before polls were set to open in Tennessee, tornadoes tore through parts of the state, destroying at least 140 buildings and killing at least 22. With more than a dozen polling sites in Nashville’s Davidson County damaged, voters were sent to other locations, where some of them encountered long lines.

    The Tennessee Democratic Party and the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren successfully sued Davidson County election officials and the secretary of state’s office to extend voting for three hours beyond the scheduled 7 p.m. closing time.

    In Texas, voting got off to a slow start in Travis County, home to Austin, because many election workers did not show up, with some citing fears of contracting the coronavirus, according to the county clerk’s office. The election office said it began implementing emergency procedures, with elections staff and other employees filling in as poll workers.

    Another county, in California, addressed concerns over the coronavirus by sending bottles of hand sanitizer to polling places and asking poll workers to post fliers from the public health department on how to avoid spreading the virus.

    Jesse Salinas, the chief elections official in Yolo County, just west of Sacramento, said about 10% of poll workers backed out at the last minute, and he pointed to concerns about getting the virus. He said that’s about double what is normal for an election, and sent his team scrambling for replacements.

    “We are hoping people remain calm and still participate in the election process,” Salinas said.

    Super Tuesday marked the first major security test since the 2018 midterm elections, with state and local election officials saying they are prepared to deal with everything from equipment problems to false information. There were bumps in a few states.

    Voter file databases were down briefly in some counties in California, Texas and elsewhere. In Los Angeles County, electronic pollbooks that are connected to the state’s voter database were operating slowly because of the high number of voters, County Registrar-Recorder spokesman Mike Sanchez said. The county brought in technicians and added devices in some polling places to move lines along.

    Even so, delays were two hours or longer in some locations. Beverly Hills City Councilman Julian Gold said waiting times there were 2 1/2 to 3 hours. He said he was told the delays were related to voter check-in.

    “There’s a lot of frustration (and) people walk away,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll come back. I hope they do.”

    At a vote center in Silverlake, just north of downtown Los Angeles, a poll worker emerged in mid-afternoon to tell a line of about 80 people that half of the 10 voting machines inside were unusable because they were stuck “buffering.” Some machines had “out of order” signs taped to them.

    Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, described problems with pollbooks around the country as “intermittent I.T. issues” that had since been resolved.

    “All the systems are back up online,” he said. “We’re not aware of any persistent, long-term issues associated with the election infrastructure of the United States right now.”

    In Minnesota, a poll-finding tool on the secretary of state’s website was briefly inaccessible on Tuesday. Republicans cried foul when visitors to the site were redirected to a left-leaning website that also supplied polling place information. Secretary of State Steve Simon said a staff member had linked to the partisan site in what he called “a serious lapse of judgment.”

    It wasn’t immediately clear why the poll-finder was inaccessible. Simon said there was no evidence the state’s voting systems were hacked or interfered with, but his office didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press about the reason for the website outage.

    U.S. intelligence chiefs have warned that foreign interference remains a threat for the 2020 election, but the national agency that oversees election security said Tuesday it had not detected any notable uptick in either misinformation by foreign nations or targeted attacks on voting equipment.

    That doesn’t mean Super Tuesday was free of mischief. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office had reports that voters were receiving robocalls stating — incorrectly — that Republicans would vote on Tuesday while Democrats and independents would vote on Wednesday. Spokesman Stephen Chang said the office has the number from which the calls were made and has reported them to federal authorities. He said it was unclear who was responsible for the calls, which were made across the state.

    Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Equal Protection Under Law, said her organization filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission about the robocalls. It was not immediately clear whether they also were sent to voters in other states.

    — Christina A. Cassidy and Adrian Sainz | Associated Press

    DNC chair has no regrets about rule changes

    Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez says he has no regrets about changes made to the party’s nominating process. The party voted last summer to drastically reduce the power of superdelegates, shifting the influence to delegates directly elected in primaries and caucuses.

    “I think we were very, very inclusive,” Perez told NPR. “We really returned power to the people.”

    Perez said there was an unprecedented field of candidates and the rules allowed voters to “kick the tires” of all of them before voting.

    Perez added that his main regret was that Iowa “didn’t go well.” He said mistakes were made and the party learned from the chaotic failure of a new vote-counting app that has significantly delayed the final results in that state.

    Sanders projected to win Colorado

    Colorado has 67 delegates. The state switched from a caucus to a primary and no entrance polls in 2016, so who turns out is a bit of a wild card. The state party estimates that Latinos could be as many as 1 in 5 voters.

    Remarkably, Bloomberg spent almost $10 million on ads in this state and could get shut out of any delegates.

    Colorado is a presidential battleground that now leans blue.

    Bloomberg campaigns in Florida as votes roll in

    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is focusing on the key swing state of Florida, even as the votes in Super Tuesday’s contests are still being cast and counted.

    The billionaire who avoided the early nominating contests tells an enthusiastic crowd in West Palm Beach, “Winning in November starts with Florida.” That state’s primary is March 17.

    Bloomberg scored a victory in American Samoa on Tuesday, though he has yet to win any states.

    He says, “No matter how many we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible.” He says that feat was rising “from 1% in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.”

    Bloomberg has spent $500 million of his own money on campaign advertising.

    Biden projected to win Oklahoma

    Thirty-seven delegates are up for grabs here. There was sparse polling in Oklahoma. The latest, conducted about two weeks ago and before the Las Vegas debate, showed Biden statistically tied with Bloomberg, who has spent a whopping $5.3 million in the state. Sanders was teetering on the threshold line.

    Warren was below the threshold line; it would be pretty remarkable if she gets no delegates from the state where she was born and raised.

    Trump breezes through primaries so far, as expected

    Facing limited competition, President Trump is stacking up wins on Super Tuesday. So far, Trump can claim victory in Texas, Vermont, North Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.

    That’s not surprising. The only significant challenger to Trump is former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who has not been able to gain much support for his long-shot campaign against the incumbent president.

    The Trump campaign has said they view these primaries as a trial run for their efforts to get Republican voters energized and ready to get out to the polls in November.

    Trump also has worked to keep his Democratic opponents from getting all of the attention in these primary states by holding a series of campaign rallies, most recently in North Carolina on Monday.

    — Ayesha Rascoe
    Hollies Winston of Minneapolis is backing Joe Biden this Super Tuesday. He says he thinks the former vice president can be more effective in the job than Bernie Sanders. "Biden has been in the arena and he's actually made some difficult decisions put some legislation forward, got it passed, took the hits on that. Bernie has managed to stay pure, because he hasn't gotten quite as much done."

    Kathy Wood of Minneapolis shares her hopes for Minnesota's future.

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