On Tuesday, March 3rd, 14 states and one US territory voted in their respective Democratic primaries, and in caucuses for American Samoa. This came fresh off of the heels of Joe Biden’s resounding victory in South Carolina. Front-runner Bernie Sanders hoped to rebut a resurgent Biden and a media blitz by Mike Bloomberg’s campaign.
One day before the race, moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out and endorsed Biden, giving him a much-needed boost in many close races.
Approximately one-third of pledged delegates in the whole race were distributed during this “Super Tuesday.” With most of the results in at this point, the overall delegate distribution of the remaining candidates is:
- Joe Biden (566)
- Bernie Sanders (501)
- Tulsi Gabbard (1)
Both Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren earned delegates on Super Tuesday, but have dropped out of the race since then.
While over 500 delegates are yet to be distributed, all of the races have been called. Here are the results, state by state (and territory) with margins of victory, and what they mean for the candidates and the party.
Alabama: Biden, +47
American Samoa: Bloomberg, +4
Michael Bloomberg’s $500 million campaign could only get him a caucus victory in this American territory. Tulsi Gabbard also nabbed a delegate, and may qualify for the next debate.
Arkansas: Biden, +20
Another strong victory for Biden, which was an expected win. This state was also considered safe for him.
California: Sanders, +9
The largest prize of the night, California, was considered Senator Sanders’ firewall. However, it looks as though Biden still performed well, taking some vital delegates from Sanders.
If Sanders widens his margin and Bloomberg doesn’t reach viability, he could come very close to (or perhaps surpass) Biden in delegates when all is said and done. We may not know the full results for some time. However, it looks like California saved the Sanders campaign, for now.
Colorado: Sanders, +13
A large Hispanic population and progressive political leanings put Bernie Sanders over the top here. This was one of Sanders’ larger margins of victory tonight, and a much-needed win.
Maine: Biden, +1
Biden’s win in Maine was shocking to many. Considering Bernie Sanders’ New England roots, and his overwhelming victory in the state last time around, this is not a good sign for the Vermont Senator. Biden has now demonstrated the ability to win in a state with a very white electorate, which is important as a self-described unity candidate.
Massachusetts: Biden, +6
Another New England upset, the situation in Massachusetts clearly mirrors Maine. However, Massachusetts is Elizabeth Warren’s home state. Her third-place finish contributed to the end of her campaign, two days after Super Tuesday.
Minnesota: Biden +9
Minnesota was a close race between Sanders and Klobuchar leading up to Tuesday, but her endorsement of Biden combined with momentum and media hype likely propelled him to victory. Sanders had won the state in 2016.
North Carolina: Biden, +19
North Carolina was a huge win for Joe Biden. The twenty-point margin in the state means Biden will rake in delegates, further solidifying his dominance on Tuesday
Oklahoma: Biden, +13
Mostly-white Oklahoma was a Sanders state in 2016, but Biden had a convincing victory here. While the state is very conservative, that doesn’t bode well for Sanders’ chances for the rest of the primary.
Tennessee: Biden, +17
Tennessee, heavily Republican in the general election, gave most of its delegates to Biden, but Sanders and Bloomberg were viable as well.
Texas: Biden, +4
Undeniably a huge win for the Biden campaign, Texas was still a tight race. The fact that its 228 delegates will be split nearly evenly makes this victory more about optics than delegates.
Utah: Sanders, +16
Utah was a Sanders victory in a state with a large white electorate, that seemed to abandon him in other regions.
Vermont: Sanders, +30
Sanders won by a healthy 30-point margin in his home state, however, Joe Biden reached viability and will draw delegates from the tiny electorate. Compared to last time, when Sanders received 85% of the vote, this is less impressive.
Virginia: Biden, +30
In perhaps the biggest blowout of the night, Biden will collect two-thirds of Virginia’s 100 delegates. This massive victory seems to have been driven by black voters and suburbanites.
Who Won the Night?
Joe Biden is now the frontrunner for the nomination. His outstanding performance in the South and Northeast is a great sign for his campaign, and one of the most shocking political reversals in modern American politics.
He may not ultimately have the lead in delegates, but upset wins across the nation combined with the winnowing of the centrist field have vaulted him into the media’s spotlight.
However, the race is far from over. The states that voted on Tuesday were more conservative than both the Democratic electorate and the American public overall, and Joe Biden will now have to face scathing criticism from Sanders on and off the debate stage, where he has historically not fared well.
Bernie Sanders lost, but he won’t be far behind in delegates after all the votes are counted. If he can effectively articulate his case against Biden he may come out with a plurality at the convention yet.
Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg lost the night, and with it the primary. However, determining who performed worse is difficult.
Elizabeth Warren has yet to finish above third in any state. Her insistence on staying in the race could split the leftist vote and harm the progressive movement she claims to represent.
On the other hand, Bloomberg’s flop and subsequent withdrawal is impressive given its $500 million price tag. It’s not common that campaigns can answer existential questions, but thanks to Bloomberg we now know: money can’t buy you love.
Edited by Rebecka Pieder.
This article is part of a series on the 2020 United States elections. To see more analysis and opinion on the American presidential and congressional elections, click here.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and they do not reflect the position of the McGill Journal of Political Studies or the Political Science Students’ Association.
Image by Lauren Hill.