Sanders Wins Vermont Primary; Biden Takes Virginia

WASHINGTON — The latest on the Democratic presidential primary and Super Tuesday (all times local):

7:18 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won Vermont’s Democratic presidential primary.

Vermont has 16 delegates at stake and is Sanders’ home state. In 2016, Sanders won more than 85% of the Democratic primary vote in the race against Hillary Clinton.

Sanders is holding an election night rally at the Champlain Valley fairgrounds in Essex Junction.


7 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary.

His victory comes as polls began to close in some states on Super Tuesday. Voting is underway elsewhere in the country, including California, the night’s biggest prize.

Virginia has 99 delegates at stake. It has been considered a tossup state that is increasingly moving to the left.

The results of the Democratic primary in Virginia, with its diverse electoral terrain of rural, urban, and suburban voters, could be a key indicator of which Democrat will be chosen to face President Donald Trump in the general election.


3:40 p.m.

Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, have returned home to Vermont to vote in Super Tuesday’s presidential primary, with the senator telling reporters he is looking forward to doing well.

As he arrived at the polling place in Burlington Tuesday morning, Sanders told a crowd of reporters that his campaign is about defeating President Donald Trump, whom he called “the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country.”

Sanders says his campaign is also about creating an economy and government “that works for all and not just the few.”

He says, “We are putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of people who are standing up for justice, and to beat Donald Trump, we are going to need to have the largest voter turnout in the history of this country.”

Sanders adds: “We need energy. We need excitement. I think our campaign is that campaign.”


3:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump predicts the super Tuesday contests will make for an “interesting evening of television” as his Democratic rivals compete for the largest chunk of delegates to be awarded in the race to run against him this November.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting evening of television and I will be watching,” Trump told reporters Tuesday as he visited the National Institutes of Health.

Trump acknowledges that Joe Biden has “come up a little bit” as moderates coalesced around his campaign. And he is repeating his allegations that the Democratic establishment is “trying to take it away” from Bernie Sanders, the progressive Vermont senator leading who holds a narrow delegate count lead.

Trump says he doesn’t have a favorite to run against this fall, adding, “I’ll take anybody I have to.”


1:45 p.m.

One of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign co-chairs says billionaire Mike Bloomberg will owe voters an explanation if he doesn’t do well across 14 Super Tuesday primary states.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stopped just short of saying Bloomberg should drop out if he doesn’t overtake Biden to finish the night second nationally in delegates behind current leader Bernie Sanders.

“If your thesis is Joe Biden’s not viable and he suddenly becomes viable, I think you have to explain to people what’s your new working theory,” Garcetti told The Associated Press. “Or, God bless you, help us win the Senate, keep the House and defeat Donald Trump.”

Bloomberg got in the race last fall amid signs that Biden was a weak national front-runner headed to bad finishes in the early primary states. Biden tanked in Iowa and New Hampshire, but rebounded to a distant second in Nevada and crushed the field in the South Carolina primary. That narrowed Sanders’ delegate lead to single digits heading into Tuesday’s primaries.

Garcetti says Sanders will lead voting in California, but says Biden has momentum to narrow Sanders’ gap and end the night in a strong position moving forward into additional March primaries.

1:30 p.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey is throwing his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Comey tweeted Tuesday that he had voted in his first Democratic primary and that he believes the country needs a candidate “who cares about all Americans and will restore decency, dignity to the office.”

Comey says “there’s a reason Trump fears” Biden and “roots” for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump frequently targets Biden on Twitter, calling him “Sleep Joe Biden” and recently mocking his debate performance. The president also tweets about Sanders, saying the Democrats are “staging a coup against Bernie!”

Comey has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was fired as FBI director by Trump in May 2017 and has been a chief antagonist of the president’s since then.

11:15 a.m.

Mike Bloomberg is acknowledging that his only path to the nomination is through a convention fight and suggested he may not win any states on Super Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a field office in Miami, the businessman said, “I don’t know whether you’re gonna win any” when he was asked which of the 14 states voting Tuesday he believed he could win.

Bloomberg added, “You don’t have to win states, you have to win delegates.” He suggested that no one will get a majority of delegates and “then you go to a convention, and we’ll see what happens.”

Bloomberg was then asked if he wanted a contested convention and he said, “I don’t think that I can win any other way.”

The billionaire is appearing on the ballot for the first time in the presidential race on Tuesday.

9:10 a.m.

Deadly tornadoes have affected Super Tuesday voting in two southern states.

The Tennessee Democratic Party is moving some polling places damaged by deadly tornadoes that rolled through the Nashville area Monday night. The party on twitter says that voters assigned to 18 polling locations can vote at a designated high school, church and community center.

Tornadoes ripped across Tennessee early Tuesday, shredding at least 40 buildings and killing at least seven people. One of the twisters caused severe damage in downtown Nashville. Police said officers and fire crews were responding to about 40 building collapses around the city.

In Alabama, seven poll workers were getting ready to open the doors to voters at the Lawley Senior Activity Center southwest of Birmingham when cellphone alerts began going off with a tornado warning about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, said volunteer Gwen Thompson.

She said they went into the bathroom and were OK, but trees were down. The storm knocked out electricity, Thompson said, but the precinct’s two electronic voting machines had battery backups and a few people had cast ballots less than an hour later.

“We’ve voting by flashlight,” Thompson said. (edited)

The early-morning storms in Alabama damaged homes and toppled trees. Winds as strong as 60 mph (97 kph) were reported by the National Weather Service. Tornado warnings issued in at least five counties.


8 a.m.

A super PAC supporting Joe Biden‘s presidential bid is running a robocall in some Super Tuesday states featuring positive words about Biden from former President Barack Obama.

Amanda Loveday of Unite the Country PAC says the call is running through Tuesday in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

The call features audio from a speech in which Obama calls Biden “a statesman, leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world.”

Obama has said he would not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, and Loveday says the group used the audio the same as would be done in a traditional campaign ad. She says the group did not need permission to use the audio, nor did it seek permission.

A spokeswoman for Obama said the robocall from Biden’s super PAC did not amount to an endorsement and the former president’s office was not aware that the group planned to use the old audio.

Several candidates in the race have run television ads featuring positive sentiments from Obama, although he has endorsed no one.

Fourteen states vote in Tuesday’s primary. Loveday said the call also ran in South Carolina before its primary last Saturday and could be used in other states that vote in the future.

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