Super Tuesday 2020 | Minnesota Public Radio News

Super Tuesday 2020

Coverage of Super Tuesday from a Minnesota perspective

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar rallies Bernie Sanders supporters in St. Paul Minnesota ahead of Tuesday's primary. Christine Nguyen | MPR News

  • Bernie Sanders rallies supporters in St. Paul Minnesota ahead of Tuesday's primary. Christine Nguyen | MPR News

    Bernie Sanders rallies supporters in St. Paul Minnesota ahead of Tuesday's primary. Christine Nguyen | MPR News

  • Bernie Sanders in St. Paul calls for Klobuchar's supporters to join him

    Bernie Sanders campaigns in St. Paul Monday. Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

    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:

  • 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

  • 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.

    Read the full story. 

    -- 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.

    Read the full story. 

    -- The Associated Press

  • Cecilia Laden, left, confirms her information while checking in to vote at Precinct 10-8 at Whittier Park Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Tuesday, March 3.
  • Cookies made by the Whittier parent teacher association are sold as part of a fundraiser at Whittier Elementary School where voting took place for Precinct 10-8 on Tuesday.
  • Minneapolis residents Jacqueline Graves, 36, and George Graves, 31, said they decided to vote for Bernie Sanders. Jacqueline said her biggest issues are healthcare and education. "I think we're much better off than a lot of people, but I think there are a lot of people being left behind right now," she said. Photo by Brandt Williams | MPR News
    by Matt Mikus, MPR News edited by Sara Porter, MPR News 3/3/2020 4:04:00 PM
  • Marvin Niesen of Brainerd planned to vote for Trump in the primary later in the day. "The economy is up, people are back to work. You go into a lot of these stores and they have all these help wanted signs. They can't get enough people. And that's Trump's fault for making jobs more available," said Niesen. "Then I look at the Democrat party, and I cannot swallow socialism." Photo by Kirsti Marohn | MPR News
    by Matt Mikus, MPR News edited by Sara Porter, MPR News 3/3/2020 4:33:43 PM
  • Sarah Hayden Shaw, 44, of Brainerd holds her son, Marly. She's a restaurant owner, and she voted for Elizabeth Warren. "I just see her as an extremely accomplished person who really can get something done. She's both fierce and intelligent, that's the kind of person we want in the presidency," Shaw said. She added climate change is a major issue she's considering while casting her ballot. Photo by Kirsti Marohn | MPR News
    by Matt Mikus, MPR News edited by Sara Porter, MPR News 3/3/2020 4:43:50 PM
  • Black voters seek to flex political power on Super Tuesday

    Supporters cheer for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign stop in Dallas, Monday, March 2, 2020. ~ Eric Gay | AP

    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."

  • Alvin Styles of Plymouth, Minn. said he voted for Elizabeth Warren because he liked her position on a number of issues. "I was considering Tom Steyer, but he dropped out. It was between him and Elizabeth Warren," Styles said. ~ Euan Kerr | MPR News
  • Emily Lenz of Plymouth, Minn. said she voted for Elizabeth Warren. "I think she has some really great ideas, and I think it would be really great to have the first female president of the United States." Lenz said it was difficult to make a final decision, and she was originally interested in Amy Klobuchar because of her connection to Minnesota, but added Warren and Bernie Sanders have policies that are better for younger citizens. ~ Euan Kerr | MPR News

    MN secretary of state: Staffer's 'lapse' led to partisan website link

    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.
    by Matt Mikus, MPR News edited by Michael Olson, MPR News 3/3/2020 8:32:39 PM
  • Steve and Kathy Fuller voted for Joe Biden Tuesday morning outside of Bemidji. They say they would have voted for Amy Klobuchar if she had not dropped out of the race. "I voted for Joe Biden because I want anybody who can beat Trump," said Steve Fuller. "He has to get out of there, so we can get anywhere." Kathy added she also voted for Biden for the same reason. ~ John Enger | MPR News
  • 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
  • Jim Gallagher is a local radio personality and back-country adventurer. He cast his vote for Joe Biden outside of Bemidji Tuesday morning. Biden was a hard choice. He favors Bernie Sanders' policies, but said Biden has a better chance of success in the general election. "It was a hard vote, let's put it that way," Gallagher said.
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