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Joe Biden wins Alaska primary, gains eight delegates

He now has 1,223 delegates and needs 1,991 to become the official Democratic nominee for president.
Image: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden addresses supporters at his South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Joe Biden in South Carolina in February. He won Alaska's primary Saturday.Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters file

Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Alaska primary Saturday, just three days after his main Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, dropped out of the presidential contest.

Biden now has 1,223 delegates to Sanders' 915, according to the NBC News delegate count.

Saturday's primary was exclusively mail-in as the coronavirus pandemic maintains its grip on the country.

Earlier in the day, Biden tweeted inspiring words for Americans who are forced to follow stay-at-home orders on Easter weekend.

"This new enemy may be unseen, but we have the tools, the expertise, the will, and the spirit to defeat it. There is nothing the American people can't accomplish if we work together," he tweeted.

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Two hours later, Biden took on President Donald Trump and his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We are in the middle of a global pandemic — and people need access to health care now more than ever. Donald Trump should reopen Obamacare enrollment immediately," he tweeted.

Biden is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to become the official nominee.

Biden beat Sanders on Saturday by 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent. More than 19,700 ballots were cast, according to the state Democratic Party. Biden won eight delegates, and Sanders won seven.

The primary originally was scheduled for April 4, but fears over the coronavirus outbreak forced the party to rethink initial plans and instead hold an exclusively mail-in primary.

By comparison, Wisconsin primary voters braved long lines after two courts ruled that the state's election could not be postponed.