March 3 was “Super Tuesday”–the day when Democrats in fourteen states went to the polls to cast their ballot for the candidate they want to take on the Republican nominee (most likely Donald Trump) in November. To make a long story short, former vice president Joe Biden emerged from the evening the clear victor. But what does that really mean, and what were the outcomes? Election Central takes a closer look.
Super Tuesday began with four candidates vying for the lead: Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. By the end of the night, Biden had won ten out of fourteen states. (Sanders took Colorado, California, Utah, and Vermont; while Warren and Bloomberg took zero.) So does that mean Biden is the winner? Not exactly.
Remember how the primary system works: each state has a certain number of delegates devoted to each candidate. Those delegates then go on to cast their vote at the Democratic National Convention, which takes place in July. Whichever candidate receives the most delegate votes then becomes the Democratic nominee.
To give you a sense of the numbers: there are 3,979 pledged delegates total. After Super Tuesday, 1,499 of them have been allotted. As it stands, Biden leads second-place Sanders by about 70 to 80 votes. But there are still 2,480 remaining–so it’s quite possible that Sanders could still take the lead and win the majority of delegate votes.
In the wake of disappointing Super Tuesday showings, both Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren ended their campaigns. While neither announcement was a surprise, Warren’s withdrawal was especially significant. An early front-runner who never quite regained her initial popularity, Warren was the last viable female candidate remaining in the race. (Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard is still technically in play, but she has so far won only two delegates from American Samoa and is unlikely to gain any significant traction at this point.) Warren dropping out means that the last two candidates standing are both older white men, which is disappointing for some Democrats given that the initial candidate pool was the most diverse in history.
Related Links: Keep track of the candidates ups and downs as well as the ongoing primary events by following this link to the 2020 Election new page.
The question many have asked is what will happen to the delegates that were pledged to candidates who have since dropped out? So far, that’s still unclear. While Bloomberg quickly endorsed Joe Biden, Warren has not yet declared which of the two remaining candidates she supports.
Tuesday, March 10, will see another big round of primaries in Michigan, Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, and North Carolina. The following Tuesday, March 17, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio will take their turn at the polls. Georgia votes on Tuesday, March 24. The bottom line is that for Sanders to overtake Biden, he will need to make some significant gains–and fast.