Joe Biden picked up pivotal wins in Tuesday's primaries in Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and Michigan, cementing his status as the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination and increasing pressure on Bernie Sanders to abandon his bid.
Sanders captured North Dakota, CBS News projected Wednesday morning, and Washington state remains a toss-up.
As of 9 a.m. ET, Biden had an estimated 820 delegates so far in the race, with Sanders having 670. Tulsi Gabbard, who remains in the race, has two delegates.
, the state with the night's largest delegate prize, came as a blow to Sanders, who won the state in an upset in 2016. According to exit polls, Biden won white voters without a college degree by a margin of 51% to 45%. This is a group Sanders won in 2016, when he upset Hillary Clinton in the state.
Biden also prevailed among union households, winning 54%, compared with Sanders' 42%. And it's also Biden who voters think has the best chance of beating President Trump in November — 55% to Sanders' 32%. Defeating Mr. Trump is consistently a top priority for Democratic primary voters.
As Americans remain jittery about the coronavirus outbreak, early exit polls also showed that voters in Michigan and Missouri choose Biden as the candidate they trust the most to handle a major crisis. In Missouri, voters trust Biden (61%) over Sanders (27%) to handle a major crisis. In Michigan, voters trust Biden (51%) over Sanders (32%) to handle a major crisis.
In a somber speech in Philadelphia, Biden called for party unity, thanking Sanders and also Biden's recent high-profile backers.
"This campaign is taking off and I believe we're going to do well from this point on. I take nothing for granted. I want to earn every vote in every state," Biden said.
While Biden's delegate lead isn't insurmountable, at this point, Biden now would have to win 50% of the delegates that are yet to be allocated to win an outright majority going into the Democratic convention in the summer. Sanders would need to win 56%, Kabir Khanna, of CBS News' Election and Survey unit, noted.
Sanders wins in North Dakota
Sanders picked up a win in North Dakota, CBS News projects. Sanders captured the state in the 2016 primaries.
Washington remains a toss-up as of Wednesday morning as the state continues to count mail-in ballots.
Delegates allocated so far
North Dakota a toss-up, CBS News estimates
As of 1:45 a.m. ET, North Dakota remained a toss-up. The state reports it will continue to count overnight.
Biden will win Idaho, CBS News projects
CBS News projects Biden will win Idaho. With 96% of the vote in, Biden has 49% of the vote to Sanders' 42%.
Trump: Warren "destroyed" Sanders
President Trump tweeted, using the slur "Pocahontas," that Elizabeth Warren "working in conjunction with the Democrat Party, totally destroyed" Sanders' campaign.
Mr. Trump continued that if she had quit before Super Tuesday, "Sanders would have beaten Biden in a route, it wouldn't even have been close. They also got two other losers to support Sleepy Joe!"
Washington remains a toss up
As of 1 a.m. ET, Washington remains a toss up and about 30 percent of the expected vote is outstanding.
"There's no sugarcoating it: Tonight's a tough night," Ocasio-Cortez says
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of Sanders' biggest backers, went on Instagram Live Tuesday night. "There's no sugarcoating it: Tonight's a tough night," she said.
Ocasio-Cortez said one thing that was "stark" in the results was "generational divide."
"We're not talking about a generational bump or a little bit of an edge — it is decisively different — and that is something we need to read into, something we need to pay attention to," Ocasio-Cortez said.
But she said she noted that she didn't think it was appropriate to dismiss older voters.
"We don't blame voters, we don't dismiss voters, we don't think of voters as disposable," she said.
Washington and Idaho are toss-ups
With all polls in Washington state and Idaho now closed, CBS News estimates the races in the two states are toss-ups.
There are 89 delegates up for grabs in Washington, a state where most people vote by mail, and 20 delegates at stake in Idaho.
— Ellee Watson and Melissa Quinn
Biden calls for uniting the party
A somber Biden began his speech by acknowledging that he was not appearing at a scheduled rally in Ohio due to concerns over the coronavirus, and said he would be speaking on how to address the disease later this week. He then pivoted to discussing his victories in Mississippi, Michigan and Missouri.
"It looks like we're going to have another good night," Biden said. "As I've said from the beginning, this election is one that has had character on the ballot."
"This campaign is taking off and I believe we're going to do well from this point on. I take nothing for granted. I want to earn every vote in every state," Biden continued.
Biden also made an overture to Sanders and his supporters, indicating that he will be seeking their support as he continues to rack up primary victories.
"I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and passion," Biden said. "Together, we'll defeat Donald Trump."
He also thanked the numerous former presidential candidates who have endorsed him in the past week: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, among others.
Sanders not speaking Tuesday night, after significant primary losses
Sanders will not be speaking tonight, after losing the primaries in Mississippi, Missouri and Michigan. Michigan in particular is a significant blow to Sanders, since he narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton there in the 2016 primary.
Sanders' campaign previously canceled his expected rally in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday night, over concerns about the coronavirus.
— Cara Korte and Grace Segers
Andrew Yang endorses Biden
Andrew Yang became the latest former Democratic presidential candidate toas he continued to rack up wins in the primaries.
"I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee," Yang said on CNN, where he is now a contributor, "and I've always said I'm going to support whoever the nominee is, so I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden to be not just the nominee for the Democratic Party but the next president of the United States."
Yang said he spoke with Biden last week but wanted to let the primary process play out.
Yang joins a slew of Biden's one-time challengers in endorsing the former vice president, joining, , Amy Klobuchar, , and Beto O'Rourke, among others.
Trump campaign accuses "Democratic establishment" of trying to deny Sanders the nomination
Brad Parscale, manager of President Trump's reelection campaign, responded to primary results as polls began to close and claimed the "Democratic establishment" is deliberately coalescing around Biden to stop Sanders from winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
"It has never mattered who the Democrat nominee turns out to be, and now that there are only two options left, it is clear that they are two sides of the same coin. The Democrat candidate for president will be running on a big government socialist agenda regardless of the name on the ballot," Parscale said in a statement. "It is also clear that the Democrat establishment has rallied around the confused Joe Biden in an effort to deny the nomination to Bernie Sanders."
Parscale added that regardless of who is the nominee, Mr. Trump will win a second term in November.
Here's how Biden won Michigan
Biden's seemingly decisive win in Michigan was possible due to support from some key voting groups.
Biden won 54% of union households, compared with Sanders' 42%. Biden also won white voters without a college degree — 51% to Sanders' 45%. This is a group Sanders won in 2016, when he upset Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary.
Voters also thought Biden has the best chance of beating President Trump — 55% to Sanders' 32%. Defeating Mr. Trump is consistently a top priority for Democratic primary voters.
— Jennifer DePinto and Kathryn Watson
Top Democratic super PAC to rally around Biden
The head of one of the largest Democratic super PACs is declaring Biden the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee following his projected wins in Missouri, Mississippi and Michigan on Tuesday and said the group will throw its weight behind the former vice president.
"The math is now clear. Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee for President and @prioritiesUSA is going to do everything we can to help him defeat Donald Trump in November. I hope others will join us in the fight," Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, tweeted.
The group had not endorsed a candidate and had remained neutral during the presidential primary.
Biden wins Michigan, CBS news projects
The former vice president will defeat Sanders in Michigan, CBS News projected only minutes after the polls closed. The apparent decisive win is key for Biden in a state that Sanders won in 2016, and Sanders himself said last week was perhaps "the most important state for him" in Tuesday's primary contests.
While Biden's lead isn't insurmountable, at this point, Biden now would have to win 50% of the delegates that are yet to be allocated to win a majority outright. Sanders would need to win 56%, Kabir Khanna, of CBS News' Election and Survey unit, notes.
— Ellee Watson and Kathryn Watson
Michigan leans Biden
As polls close, Michigan leans toward Biden, according to early exit polling and a sampling of precincts. Sanders has been pressing his case against Biden across the state over the past few days. Biden's place at this point bodes well for his delegate count. The Great Lakes State has 125 delegates up for grabs.
Why black voters are supporting Biden in Democratic primaries
African-American support on Super Tuesday and in South Carolina helped propel Joe Biden to victory in multiple primaries. Color of Change president Rashad Robinson joins CBSN's "Red and Blue" to discuss why black voters are backing the former vice president.
More than half of late deciders in Missouri went with Biden
Just under half of Democratic primary voters in Missouri decided on their candidate this month (since the South Carolina primary) and more than half of those voters voted for Biden, according to exit polls.
Biden did well among black voters as he has throughout the primaries. He is winning 7 in 10 black voters in Missouri.
Biden made inroads with some groups Sanders won in 2016, including white voters. Sanders won white voters in Missouri in the 2016 primary, but Biden currently leads with them getting 53% to Sanders' 41%
About a quarter of Missouri Democratic primary voters live in labor union households and 6 in 10 of these voters are backing Biden. Four years ago, Sanders won union households in Missouri.
In Missouri, Biden is widely seen as the candidate who has the best chance of beating President Trump – a priority for voters. Biden had 62% of voters saying he has the best chance, while 32% said Sanders does.
Sanders continues to perform well with the more liberal voters in the Democratic primary electorate.
Next Democratic debate to be held without an audience, DNC and CNN announce
The next Democratic debate set to take place in Phoenix, Arizona will be held without a live audience due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the Democratic National Committee and CNN announced Tuesday.
"At the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience at the Arizona debate taking place on Sunday, March 15th," said DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa in a statement. "The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the mayor's office, which advised that we could proceed as planned."
Hinojosa added that the party's top priority "has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate."
In addition to nixing the live audience, CNN, which is hosting the debate with Univision, said it decided to eliminate the press filing center and spin room, where candidates and campaign surrogates speak with reporters following the debate.
Read more about the decision here.
CBS News projects Biden wins Missouri primary
CBS News projects Biden will win the Missouri primary. Missouri has 68 pledged delegates.
Biden gets boost in Mississippi from African American voters
Biden got a huge boost in Mississippi from African American voters, who made up a majority of the electorate in the state. Biden also won a majority of white voters.
The former vice president was the top choice among voters who were looking for a candidate who can unite the country.
About six in ten primary voters in Mississippi would like to see the next president return to President Obama's policies, and these voters went overwhelmingly for Biden. Only about 1 in 5 primary voters in Mississippi want the next president to move toward more liberal policies.
Among the African American electorate, 74% said Biden is the candidate that best understands the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities. About 1 in 5 said this about Sanders.
Biden to give remarks on the coronavirus on Thursday
The Biden campaign has canceled a campaign event in Tampa, Florida, that was scheduled for Tuesday. Instead, Biden will deliver remarks on the coronavirus from Wilmington, Delaware.
The campaign canceled a rally on Tuesday evening in Toledo, Ohio, too. Sanders' campaign also decided not to hold rally that was to take place in Cleveland, Ohio, this evening.
"All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis," said Sanders communications director Mike Casca in a statement.
CBS News projects Biden will win Mississippi
As of 8 p.m. ET, CBS News projects Biden will win the Mississippi primary and a majority of its 36 pledged delegates. At this point Missouri leans toward Biden. Missouri has 68 pledged delegates at stake.
Former Warren staffers write Medium post supporting Sanders
Warren may be staying out of the race so far, but her staffers aren't. A number of former Warren campaign staffers wrote a Medium post on Tuesday endorsing Sanders.
After she announced her own departure from the race, Warren has said she isn't endorsing yet, but hasn't ruled out doing so in the future. The signatories include more than three dozen former Warren staffers and associates.
"We, the undersigned former employees and fellows of Warren for President, are ready to get back in the fight for a just and progressive future," the Medium post reads. "We know that we need a bold, ambitious policy agenda for working families, marginalized communities, and our planet. We know that we won't beat Donald Trump by simply talking about a return to business as usual. We hold these values close to our hearts because we've spent months talking about them with community members and volunteers in the field on behalf of Elizabeth Warren."
"That's why the best option for Warren Democrats right now is to support Bernie Sanders for president, in addition to fighting for Democratic victories across the board in Senate, House and local races," they continue.
It's unclear when Warren will endorse — if she will at all — before there's a clear nominee.
Health care continues to be the top issue in 4 states
According to early exit polls in Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan and Washington, health care is the top issue for voters. Climate change also ranked higher in Washington than in other states.
A breakdown how important issues rank by state:
- Mississippi: 44% said health care is most important, 24% said income inequality, 15% said race relations and 12% said climate change.
- Missouri: 48% said health care is most important, 19% said income inequality, 18% said climate change and 9% said race relations.
- Michigan: 45% said health care is most important, 20% said climate change, 18% said income inequality and 10% said race relations.
- Washington: 37% said health care is most important, 24% said climate change, 24% said income inequality and 5% said race relations.
— Jennifer De Pinto and Caroline Linton
Enthusiasm gap found in Michigan between Sanders and Biden supporters
There is an enthusiasm gap in Michigan among Election Day primary voters. The vast majority of Sanders supporters (85%) would be enthusiastic if he won the nomination, compared to 55% of Biden backers who would be enthusiastic if their candidate won the nomination.
Among Michigan Election Day voters, roughly 25% of Sanders supporters would be upset if Biden won the nomination, and a similar percentage of Biden backers would be upset if Sanders won.
Still, more than 8 in 10 of Biden and Sanders backers say they would vote for the Democratic nominee, no matter who it eventually is.
As has been the case throughout this campaign, there are high levels of dissatisfaction toward the Trump administration among the Democratic primary electorate – large majorities in Missouri, Michigan and Washington expressed anger toward the Trump administration.
And in each of these states (Michigan, Missouri and Washington) most voters prefer a nominee who can beat President Trump over someone who agrees with them on the issues, a consistent trend in the primaries thus far
— Jennifer De Pinto and Kathryn Watson
Voters in 3 states divided over how best to handle the economic system
Exit polls of voters in Michigan, Missouri and Washington indicated voters are divided on whether the U.S. economic system needs just minor changes or a complete overhaul, and a small percentage of voters said they believed it is working well as it is.
In Missouri and Michigan, 49% of voters said the economic system needed a complete overhaul, compared with 41% in Missouri and 39% in Michigan who said it needed just minor changes. Washington voters were more likely to say the economic system needed just minor changes, with 49% saying that and 41% saying it needed a complete overhaul. Only 4% of Washington voters said the economic system was working well as is, compared to 8% of voters in Missouri who said that and 10% in Michigan.
— Jennifer De Pinto and Caroline Linton
Early exit polls show voters in Michigan, Missouri and Washington trust Biden over Sanders to handle a major crisis amid coronavirus outbreak
Early exit polls show voters in Michigan and Missouri choose Biden as the candidate they trust the most to handle a major crisis. The polling comes amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
In Missouri, voters trust Biden (61%) over Sanders (27%) to handle a major crisis.
In Michigan, voters trust Biden (51%) over Sanders (32%) to handle a major crisis.
Biden is also the top pick in Washington (46%), followed by Sanders (27%) and Elizabeth Warren — who has since dropped out of the race — came in at 21%.
Voters in Washington, the state with the most deaths to coronavirus, voters were asked about their level of concern over the virus' effects. Most (about 8 in 10) are at least somewhat concerned about it. Early exit polls in Washington showed 38% are very concerned about the virus' effects; 44% are somewhat concerned; and 18% are not very or not at all concerned.
— Jennifer De Pinto and Kathryn Watson
Biden also cancels his Cleveland rally
Not long after Sanders' campaign canceled his planned rally, Biden's campaign called off their Tuesday night rally in Cleveland, Ohio. The cancellations come amid fears of coronavirus spreading in large, crowded gatherings.
The Biden campaign said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and following guidance from public health officials. The campaign also said they will announce decisions on future events in the coming days.
"In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is canceled," said deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. "We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland this evening. Additional details on where the Vice President will address the press tonight are forthcoming."
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency in the state on Monday.
Sanders cancels planned Cleveland rally
The Sanders campaign said they are canceling the planned Tuesday night Cleveland rally, citing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic. "We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight," campaign spokesman Mike Casca said in a statement.
Casca said the campaign will evaluate future rallies on a "case-by-case" basis. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency on Monday.
Sanders says he will "double check" with local authorities about Ohio rally
Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Sanders said his campaign will "double check" with local authorities about his planned rally in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
"We have spoken to the public health officials, I will double check that but will not do anything that public health officials do not feel is advisable," Sanders said.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency on Monday. The state's primary is on March 17.
" Look, we are talking — we take the coronavirus very seriously," Sanders said. "As you know, we had a panel discussion with some of the leading experts in the country on that yesterday. And we take this issue, unlike the president, very, very seriously."
"Tonight is one of those nights where margin actually matters," says Democratic strategist
The margin of victory in each the six states on Tuesday night matters in terms of how many delegates either Biden or Sanders will win, but it also will matter in terms of making the electability argument into the next round of primaries, says CBS News political contributor and Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright.
Secretary of state's office warns that Michigan's results could take some time to tabulate.
By this morning, 804,216 absentee ballots have been returned, out of 993,814 requested, a vast increase over 2016. In the same time frame in 2016, 446,944 absentee ballots were returned, out of 503,389 absentee ballots sent.
In a USA Today column Tuesday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson warned the result could come in slowly, but if that's the case, "it's not a sign of errors or fraud." It will be, she wrote, because "we in Michigan are prioritizing accuracy and security above all else."
She said that Michigan has adopted a number of security measures to protect the sanctity of the ballots cast. The entire state votes on paper ballots, and there will be paper records of every tally. The state hired an election security staffer in 2019, it partnered with the Homeland Security Department so that its systems could be tested before primary day. And Michigan's elections are decentralized, Benson pointed out, taking place in 1,500 jurisdictions, making it more difficult for a foreign entity to hack.
Biden, accused of wanting to take guns away from Americans, responds, "you're full of sh**"
As Biden was touring an assembly plant under construction for Fiat Chrysler, and shook hands with and praised the electrical workers union members who are building the plant, one confronted Biden about his stance on gun ownership.
"You are actively trying to end our Second Amendment right and take away our guns," the worker told Biden.
Biden replied: "You're full of sh**," Biden responded. "I did not," he protested. "I support the Second Amendment."
The man repeated his accusation that Biden was "trying to take our guns," and Biden pushed back. "I did not say that. I did not say that."
It was a remarkably candid exchange that comes just a few hours before Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of gun control organizations at a stop in Columbus, Ohio.
— Ed O'Keefe contributed.
Coronavirus and primary day
Detroit — In Michigan, the biggest prize of the day, there are no coronavirus cases, so fear of COVID-19 is not expected to have a big impact here. Washington, which has suffered the highest number of deaths from the disease, votes by mail.
Election workers in Washington are being advised to wear gloves when opening the ballots.
Sanders and Biden have both been holding rallies in states holding voting contests. Some elected officials have expressed concern about this. California Congresswoman Jackie Speier called on all candidates to stop holding large-scale public events and rallies. Citing the CDC's guidance against congregating in large groups, she called on candidates to "lead by example" and stop holding the rallies.
Biden is expected to stop shaking hands on ropelines but has no plans to slow down his campaign. Sanders said that his campaign does not hold rallies without first consulting with local health officials. He has not said whether he is taking any specific precautions himself
Both campaigns are offering plenty of hand sanitizer at rallies.
What time do polls close?
Voters will go to the polls from Michigan to Idaho. Here is a breakdown by state of:
- Idaho: 11 p.m. ET *Polls begin closing at 10 p.m. ET
- Michigan: 9 p.m. ET *Polls begin closing at 8 p.m. ET
- Mississippi: 8 p.m. ET
- Missouri: 8 p.m. ET
- North Dakota: 10 p.m. ET *Polls begin closing at 8 p.m. ET
- Washington: 11 p.m. ET
Sanders and Biden tangle over trade in Rust Belt
There's a trade war raging between the top two Democratic presidential contenders. Since Super Tuesday narrowed the field to two main candidates last week, Bernie Sanders has made it a point at campaign stops to list the areas where he and Joe Biden disagree. Trade has taken center stage this week, as the two men fight for delegates in the industrial Midwest.
Though neither candidate has released a detailed trade policy, a decisive primary win in Michigan on Tuesday or next week in Ohio could signal how the Democratic Party will approach trade and the nation's economic agenda.
Across one of the nation's most iconic manufacturing states, Sanders has been taking swipes at Biden's positions on trade. He slammed then-Senator Biden's support of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which eliminated most tariffs between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and the 2000 China Trade Bill, which reinstated permanent and normal trade relations with China. Sanders voted against both measures as a House member and continues to rail against the policies today, a point highlighted by a Sanders ad, "Decimated," that's up in every March 10th and March 17th primary state.
Read more about their trade battle here.
— Cara Korte and Bo Erickson
New poll has big lead for Biden in Michigan
A Monmouth University poll of likely Democratic voters in Michigan released Monday had Biden with 51%, Sanders with 36% and Gabbard with 1%.
Biden led with white voters, 50% to 36%, and among other races 53% to 36%. Among voters over age 50, Biden led 62% to 24%, but among voters 49 and under, Sanders led 49% to 39%. Among men, Sanders led 49% to 39%, but among women, Biden led 53% to 33%.
"Biden appears to have the advantage because he is doing well among some groups that Sanders won four years ago. But as we learned in 2016, Michigan can defy expectations," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Both Democrats led President Trump among registered voters. Biden holds a 48% to 41% edge over Mr. Trump while Sanders has a similar 46% to 41% lead.
Among Michigan voters who report having voted for Trump four years ago, 90% intend to stick with the president this year, while 5% said they would vote for Biden. In the matchup against Sanders, this split stands at 91% for Trump to 5% for Sanders. Among those who voted for Hillary Clinton in the last general election, 92% say they would vote for Biden to 2% for Trump in the first hypothetical matchup, while it is 87% for Sanders to 3% for Trump in the second.
Booker endorses Biden
Former 2020 contender Senator Cory Booker on Monday endorsed Biden, following the lead of the other former rivals Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke.
"Well, look, it's a time for us to beat Donald Trump," Booker said on "CBS This Morning" Monday. "And it became very clear to me that Joe Biden is the right person to do that. We have to unify and show our strength. And I think this Tuesday could be a pivotal day in our primary progress. But it's about time we start unifying as a party and begin the work to beat Donald Trump, and frankly, save our nation, humanity, address our common cause and our common challenges."
Read more about Booker's endorsement here.