WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Vice President Joe Biden extended his lead in the delegate race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, sweeping the day’s contests with wins in Arizona, Florida and Illinois as the country grappled with the coronavirus.
A poll deputy uses her cellphone as she wears gloves as a preventive measure against the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the Democratic presidential primary election in Miami, Florida, U.S. March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona
There were 441 delegates at stake in the three states. A string of earlier victories had put Biden ahead of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the race to amass the minimum 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination and challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
Ohio had also been scheduled to vote on Tuesday, but Governor Mike DeWine postponed his state’s primary until June 2 because of the growing coronavirus crisis.
Here is a quick look at Tuesday’s primaries:
Delegate Count: 219
Biden wins and will secure at least 81 delegates. Sanders will win at least 24 delegates.
With most precincts reporting, Biden was on pace to win every county in the state. Sanders’ praise of literacy programs in Cuba under the nation’s Communist former leader, Fidel Castro, prompted widespread criticism of the senator in Florida, a state with a sizable Cuban-American population.
Delegate count: 155
Biden wins Illinois, picking up at least 46 delegates to Sanders’ 25.
Underscoring his commanding wins, with most of the state’s votes counted, Biden led Sanders by more than 20 percentage points. In 2016, Sanders lost the Illinois primary to Hillary Clinton, the party’s eventual nominee, by just 2 percentage points.
Delegate count: 67
Biden is projected to win Arizona, securing at least six delegates, while Sanders had locked down three.
In previous contests, Sanders had done well in Western states, victories his supporters attribute to large support from Latinos. But that was not enough to give him a win in Arizona, where Biden was on pace to best Sanders by double digits.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Peter Cooney and Sonya Hepinstall