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Biden and Trump clinch 2024 presidential nominations, teeing up general election rematch

Biden clinches nomination, CBS News estimates
Biden clinches Democratic nomination, CBS News estimates 03:13

President Biden and former President Donald Trump are barreling toward a November election rematch after their primary wins Tuesday night.

CBS News estimates that Trump will be the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee after his win in Washington, amassing the 1,125 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination. He also won the day's Georgia and Mississippi primaries, CBS News projected.

In a video posted to social media by the Trump campaign, Trump called it a "great day of victory," but said "we're not going to take time to celebrate. We'll celebrate in eight months when the election is over."

Mr. Biden clinched the Democratic Party's nomination earlier Tuesday. He picked up wins in Washington, Georgia and Mississippi, CBS News projected. 

With these wins, and the nominations settled, this will now be one of the longest general election campaigns in modern history. There are 238 days until Nov. 5, the day of the presidential election. 

"Four years ago, I ran for president because I believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation," Mr. Biden said in a statement released by his campaign Tuesday night. "Because of the American people, we won that battle, and now I am honored that the broad coalition of voters representing the rich diversity of the Democratic Party across the country have put their faith in me once again to lead our party — and our country — in a moment when the threat Trump poses is greater than ever."

Trump's path to the nomination 

It's been an unconventional path to the nomination for Trump, who is the first former president in history to be indicted on criminal charges. 

Trump held a commanding lead in the polls over every primary challenger since launching his reelection campaign in November 2022. And those polls weren't even close: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis managed to come within a 15-point difference of Trump in a Fox News poll released in February 2023, long before DeSantis actually jumped into the race. 

Then Trump was indicted in four separate criminal proceedings — facing a total of 91 felony charges. With each indictment, Trump saw a boost in his primary poll numbers and was able to raise millions off of perceived efforts to unfairly target the former president. 

With a larger war chest of cash and assertive lead in the polls, Trump was emboldened to ignore his primary rivals, declaring the primary over before it effectively started. He refused to participate in any of the debates sanctioned by the Republican National Committee or to sign a pledge to support the party's eventual nominee.

Trump also rarely appeared on the campaign trail. The former president campaigned in Iowa only 26 times this cycle, compared to Gov. DeSantis who visited all 99 counties in the Hawkeye State. 

Ultimately, Trump won the Iowa caucus by the largest margin of any Republican ever, crushing his rivals by winning 51% of Iowa caucus-goers.

The former president steamrolled through the early nominating contests, winning all but two of the primaries in his path. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the last Republican to square off against Trump before dropping out the day after Super Tuesday, only won two GOP primaries, in Vermont and Washington, D.C. 

Now, Trump officially turns his focus to Mr. Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020 by flipping key battleground states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona. 

Polling currently shows Trump leading Mr. Biden in a head-to-head matchup. A CBS News poll released earlier in March shows Trump with his largest lead yet, besting Mr. Biden 52% to 48% among likely voters.

Biden's reelection campaign is underway

Clinching the Democratic nomination was more of a formality for Mr. Biden. 

The incumbent president faced two longshot challengers in Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author Marianne Williamson, but has overwhelmingly won every Democratic primary and caucus thus far (except for in American Samoa, where he split delegates with venture capitalist Jason Palmer, although Palmer won more of the 91 votes cast). 

A movement to vote "uncommitted" on some state ballots to protest Mr. Biden's response to the Israel-Hamas war has been the second top vote-getter in some states (Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Hawaii), though with a wide gap between the president and this option. 

Mr. Biden's path to 1,968 delegates also began with an adjusted calendar he pushed for in 2022 – with South Carolina taking the first slot followed by Nevada and Michigan.

With its "first in the nation" law, New Hampshire was technically the first state to hold a Democratic nominating contest. While the president's name was not on the ballot and no delegates were awarded, due to the state breaking the DNC's new rules, Mr. Biden won anyway with a write-in vote.

Following his State of the Union address last Thursday, the president and his campaign have shifted into full general election mode.

He has ramped up his battleground state travel, with trips to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan slated so far this month. Vice President Kamala Harris was in Arizona and Nevada over the weekend.

The campaign announced a $30 million ad buy over the next six weeks, with the first ad looking to tackle concerns about the president's age, 81. The campaign has a goal of opening 100 new offices across the battleground states and adding 350 new staffers this month.

Underscoring the campaign's pivot to the general election mode is a severe cash advantage for Mr. Biden, with over $130 million cash on hand according to campaign finance records in combination with the DNC, nearly doubling Mr. Trump's war chest.

But the incumbent president is still stuck in a tight battle with his 2020 opponent according to national and battleground state polling — in part due to waning enthusiasm from his winning Democratic coalition in 2020.

Mr. Biden has already started putting his contrasts with Trump front and center in his campaign. He referred frequently to "my predecessor" in his State of the Union address and has continued his criticism of Trump on the campaign trail.

"Donald Trump has a different constituency. Here's the guy who's kicking off his general election campaign in the road up with Marjorie Taylor Greene. It can tell you a lot about a person who he keeps company with," Mr. Biden said during a campaign event in Atlanta on Saturday.

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