Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took another big step Tuesday (March 17) toward capturing the Democratic nomination for President with primary wins in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
Going into the night, Biden had 853 delegates and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had 700. To win the nomination on the first ballot, a candidate will need 1,991 delegates. The Democratic National Convention will begin July 13 in Milwaukee, Wis.
There were 441 delegates combined in the three states. Arizona had 67 delegates up for grabs, with 219 delegates in Florida, and 155 in Illinois. Polls in Cook County, the home to Chicago, were ordered to stay open until 8 p.m., an hour later than normal, after early confusion over the location of polling places.
Ohio was set to vote Tuesday but Gov. Mike DeWine issued an order postponing the election over fears of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The order was supported by a directive from Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to close the polls because of “significant risk” of the virus spreading as citizens gathered to vote. The state has 136 delegates.
The first big win of the night was in Florida in which the race was called early for Biden with 62% of the vote compared to around 23% for Sanders. That was soon followed by Illinois being called for Biden with 59% of the vote and Sanders having 36%. Arizona would later follow with a Biden win with early results showing the former vice president with 43% and Sanders with 30%.
With Florida, Illinois and Arizona votes, the early estimate was that Biden had 1,132 delegates and Sanders had 817 delegates.
Tuesday also marked the competitive end of the Republican presidential primary with President Donald Trump securing enough delegates to be the party’s presumptive nominee.
“Nobody motivates our base more than President Trump, as evidenced by the historic turnout we’ve seen in state after state this primary season. Fueled by both our longtime supporters and the thousands of new voters that continue to join our movement, we are united and enthusiasm is on our side. We have the strongest record of success, an unparalleled grassroots infrastructure, and are thrilled to have President Trump as our Party’s presumptive nominee once again,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted in a statement.