Super Tuesday 2020 | Minnesota Public Radio News

Super Tuesday 2020

Coverage of Super Tuesday from a Minnesota perspective

  • “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.

  • 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

    NPR: "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.'"

  • Sanders projected to win Colorado

    NPR: "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."

  • 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

    NPR: 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.

  • Polls close in Minnesota, where stirred-up race had voters scrambling for clarity

    By Brian Bakst | MPR News
    A voter enters the room to vote at Whittier International Elementary School in Minneapolis to vote in the presidential primary on Tuesday. Tom Baker for MPR News

    Sen. Bernie Sanders was battling former Vice President Joe Biden for supremacy in Minnesota’s presidential primary Tuesday, with no immediate winner as polls closed at 8 p.m.

    Minnesota had been expected to be a fierce battleground between Sanders, who won Minnesota’s party caucuses in 2016, and Minnesota’s own Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But Klobuchar unexpectedly dropped out of the race on Monday, endorsing Biden.

    That last-minute change scrambled the race, with Klobuchar’s supporters having to find a new candidate at the last minute. Biden, who had been in a distant fourth place in a MPR News/Star Tribune poll two weeks before the election, was trying to attract Klobuchar supporters on the basis of the Minnesota senator’s endorsement, while Sanders was hoping to capitalize by the withdrawal of his biggest rival here.

    “It was kind of tough with Amy dropping out last night,” said Joan McKearnan, who had been planning to vote for Klobuchar. “I ended up going with Joe Biden. Because I feel like Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat. Because he isn't in the Democratic Party.”

    Sanders’ many supporters were passionate about the Vermont senator’s call for drastic change.

    "He speaks to me,” said Opalina Peralta of Bemidji. “I'm a millennial, and all his issues are stuff that's going to impact me personally. ... Student loans, housing."

    Shaun Laden receives a sticker after voting in the presidential primary election at Precinct 10-8 at Whittier International Elementary School in Minneapolis, on Tuesday. Tom Baker for MPR News

    More than 100,000 Minnesotans had voted early in Tuesday’s primary election, and Klobuchar’s withdrawal came too late for her supporters to change their votes. State law allows that only up to a week before the election.

    Rural residents like Barbara Droher Kline, who lives near Le Sueur, said that’s a problem as some candidates dropped out right before the primary. She said some townships have opted to skip election day polling in favor of mail ballots.

    “I know a lot of people who voted for Amy, because we’re in Minnesota and they have no options to change their ballot, and they didn’t have an option to wait for election day, because we’re mail in now,” said Kline.

    There were 15 names in all on the Minnesota Democratic ballot, but two-thirds of the candidates dropped out before Minnesota’s chance to weigh in. For Republicans, President Trump had a virtual free pass as the only named candidate on the ballot opposite a write-in line.

    Read more here
  • Trump breezes through primaries so far, as expected

    NPR: "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."

  • 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.

  • At a watch party at Elsie's Restaurant in Minneapolis, Cathy Kurtz of Des Moines, Iowa wears a t-shirt in support of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who dropped out of the race Monday. Kurtz was a Klobuchar delegate at the Iowa caucuses and is in Minneapolis attending the election watch party for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo by Judy Griesedieck for MPR News.
  • Biden projected to win Tennessee

    NPR: "With 64 delegates, Tennessee is the state where Joe Biden has invested most in ads ahead of Super Tuesday (even though it’s only $157,000 and is less than half of what Sanders has put in). Tornadoes in the Nashville area disrupted voting in the state today, leading some polling places to stay open late."

  • Biden takes early lead in Minnesota

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Amy Klobuchar’s abrupt withdrawal from the presidential race gave front-runner Bernie Sanders a sudden opportunity to lock up her home state and forced her supporters to make a quick second choice on Super Tuesday.

    Joe Biden took a slight lead over Sanders in early returns, just 24 hours after fellow moderates Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg threw their support to the former vice president. Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg were further back.

    Sanders, who easily won Minnesota’s caucuses in 2016, has a large and motivated progressive base in the state that might have overcome Klobuchar’s presumed home-field advantage even if she hadn’t dropped out Monday. Sanders made a bid for Klobuchar’s and Buttigieg’s supporters in a Monday night rally in St. Paul, noting big policy differences but a shared desire to unseat President Donald Trump.

    “The door is open,” he said. “Come on in.”

    Klobuchar wasn’t having it.

    “I don’t think we should have a socialist heading up our ticket,” Klobuchar said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”

    Biden entered Super Tuesday with momentum from winning South Carolina on Saturday, but his campaign had done next to nothing in Minnesota as it focused on earlier-voting states and bigger prizes. He still faced moderate competition from Bloomberg, who spent heavily on TV ads for weeks, while Warren provided a progressive alternative.

    Many Minnesota voters also had no chance to shift their vote. Almost 84,000 Democrats cast early ballots in the primary — many of them surely for Klobuchar — and her exit came too late for them to be clawed back.

    Minnesota had 75 national convention delegates up for grabs.

    In the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, engaged couple Susan Beaubaire, 69, and Len Lichtblau, 70, were planning to vote for Klobuchar before she dropped out. Beaubaire voted for Biden; Lichtblau chose Bloomberg.

    “I voted for Biden because I feel that he has the best chance of potentially beating Trump. ... He represents, of the people left, a more moderate view,” Beaubaire said. “And I think the country just needs somebody who’s going to calm things down.”

    Lichtblau said he likes Biden a lot, too. But the former New York resident said he backed Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, at the last second because he trusts him to run things.

    “Honest to God, when I stood in the booth I was going ‘Biden-Bloomberg, Biden-Bloomberg,’ and I just went for Bloomberg.” he said. “I’d be happy with either of them.”

    In the northwestern Minnesota city of Moorhead, 36-year-old librarian Al Bernardo said he voted for Sanders and never even considered his home-state senator.

    “I think Bernie is the only candidate who can beat Trump,” he said. “He’s running on a platform that will do the most to help the most people in the country. I think the way he is organizing his campaign represents a new movement in the Democratic Party that has been lacking in recent years.”

    Adam Pankow, 39, a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre, had planned on voting for Klobuchar, but took her advice and voted for Biden. He said he saw Biden as “a great choice to ultimately beat Trump.”

    In Minneapolis, 75-year-old Joseph Dixon, a Jamaican immigrant, voted for Bloomberg. He described the billionaire as “professional” and “productive.”

    “What I’m concerned about is the integrity of the leadership, and when I see Bloomberg I see leadership qualities,” Dixon said. “And the leadership quality is one that will get things done in a professional way without putting down anyone or playing games just to get elected.”

    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 rules have 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 were allowed.

    — Steve Karnowski | Associated Press

  • Mayor De Blasio defends Sanders’ viability in California and Texas

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told NPR that he expects Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to perform well in California and Texas tonight - despite a growing delegate lead for former Vice President Joe Biden after more than five primary wins so far tonight.

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