What you need to know for Super Tuesday
The five remaining Democratic candidates will vie for 1,357 delegates, representing the largest share decided in one day.
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And then there were five. After former Vice President Joe Biden’s major stomping of the competition in South Carolina, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, hedge-fund manager, billionaire Tom Steyer and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar all headed for the exits of the Democratic national primaries.
Buttigieg started a surprise. A proclaimed victory in Iowa amid major technical issues was enough to vault him to a tie in New Hampshire with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders before fizzling out in both Nevada and South Carolina.
Klobuchar’s surprise came in the form of a third-place finish in New Hampshire and she never gained any momentum after that.
Steyer’s highest finish was also third, but in South Carolina, and after pouring the most money his campaign had spent to date. He had gained very little traction in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
But now the remaining candidates have the most important day of the primaries just a day away on March 3. Super Tuesday 2020 will decide the primaries of 14 states: California, Texas, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado and Minnesota.
The 14 represent the largest single-day voter haul in the Democratic primaries with 1,357 delegates up for grabs. Since its beginnings back in 1984, the winner of the most contests on Super Tuesday (for Democrats and Republicans) has gone on to win the nomination every time.
Here’s what to look for heading into March 3:
Sen. Bernie Sanders still leads the delegate count in the Democratic field, but after Biden’s major success in South Carolina, it’s slim.
Sanders has been riding a nationwide approach that’s targeting potential new voters to ride to victory. Part of that has been a deep engagement with the Latino community.
His campaign micro-targeted Latino voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to great success, and the approach led to a blowout victory in Nevada, but Sanders was left licking his wounds after South Carolina.
He still came in second, but Biden won almost half the vote (much like Sanders did in Nevada).
Still, California and Texas are two of the most delegate-rich states in all of the primaries. Both will be decided on Tuesday, and both also have the two largest Latino populations of any U.S. state.
In the polls a day before the primary, Sanders holds a major advantage in California, but squeaks past Biden in Texas.
If you account for all the states with potentially difference-making Latino populations (include North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia in the mix), 919 of the 1,357 delegates are at stake.
Biden holds a small lead in North Carolina polls, while both he and Sanders split them in Virginia. Sanders holds a commanding lead in Colorado.
In the background of the inevitable showdown between Sanders and Biden is the inclusion of billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the ballot.
Rather than pursue any support in the first four primaries, Bloomberg has spent significant time, and money, campaigning in Super Tuesday states in hopes of a good showing tomorrow.
Bloomberg is a distant second, third or worse in most polls across Super Tuesday states, but could take vital votes from Biden in his challenge of Sanders, especially with Buttigieg dropping out.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is also distant from the head of the pack, but holds third in some polls in California and a close second to Sanders in her home state.
Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard is also still in the race, but hasn’t won more than 4% of the vote in any of the primaries so far.