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2020 Super Tuesday live updates: Biden sweeps the South, wins most delegates

More than 1,300 delegates — or about a third of the total — were at play on Super Tuesday.
Image: Voters in 14 states will cast ballots in Democratic primaries on "Super Tuesday," March 3, 2020.
Voters in 14 states cast ballots in Democratic primaries on "Super Tuesday," March 3, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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Fourteen states and one territory held nominating contests for the Democratic Party's candidate for president on Tuesday, the most pivotal day on the presidential primary calendar.

When the polls closed on Super Tuesday and results came in, it became clear that former Vice President Joe Biden had swept the Southern states, winning the primaries in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, as well as Minnesota and Massachusetts, and had ended the night with the most delegates. Sen. Bernie Sanders came out on top in Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont, NBC News projected.

On Wednesday, NBC News declared Biden the apparent winner in Maine, though the race against Sanders in the state was a tight one.

More than 1,300 delegates — about a third of the total — were at play, more than on any other day in the primary season.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts on the latest news.

Live Blog

Super Tuesday spending wars: Bloomberg drops almost $200 million on airwaves

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's deep pockets have translated into an overwhelming spending edge on the airwaves in Super Tuesday states. 

In the 14 states that hold their presidential nominating contests on Tuesday, Bloomberg has spent $198.4 million on television and radio ads, according to ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. That's more than six times the spending of the rest of the field combined and their affiliated super PACs. 

Total Super Tuesday TV and radio ad spending

  • Bloomberg: $198.4 million
  • Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders: $15.7 million
  • Persist PAC (A super PAC supporting Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren): $9 million
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: $2.1 million
  • Warren: $2 million
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: $338,000
  • Unite the Country (Pro-Biden super PAC): $163,000

Bloomberg is the top spender in each one of the 14 states, dropping more than half his total between California and Texas, the two biggest delegate prizes of Tuesday's slate. 

California TV and radio spending

  • Bloomberg: $71 million
  • Sanders: $7.1 million
  • Persist PAC: $3.6 million
  • Biden: $629,000
  • Gabbard: $74,000
  • Unite the Country: $18,000

Texas TV and radio spending

  • Bloomberg: $52 million
  • Sanders: $3.9 million
  • Persist PAC: $2 million
  • Warren: $790,000
  • Biden: $463,000
  • Gabbard: $46,000
  • Unite the Country: $29,000

And he's responsible for at least three-quarters of all money spent on TV and radio ads in 13 of the 14 states (he's spent six out of every 10 dollars dropped on the Virginia airwaves). 

Biden's team says 'thanks, but no thanks' to Comey's endorsement

Bates, Biden's rapid response director, then quickly clarified his tweet.

Coronavirus fears keep some poll workers away

Election officials in Travis County, home of Austin, Texas, are implementing emergency procedures to fill in for poll workers who didn’t show up to their stations Tuesday because they fear contracting the coronavirus.

Some poll workers were relocated to some of the county’s most severely understaffed polling centers.

"It's been in the news, just because they’ve been seeing it in the news, and reading about what they find to be scary stats relating to it," said Victoria Hinojosa with the County Clerk's Office. "A lot of them are older so their health is always a concern."

Residents cast their ballots during the presidential primary in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 3, 2020.Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images

 

“Most locations are up and running now, and we’re continuing to work on resolutions to get everywhere fully staffed,” Hinojosa said.

In Sacramento, California, around a dozen of the nearly 700 election clerks opted out over coronavirus fears. 

"To better equip our Vote Centers for any spread of germs, we’ve sent out sanitation supplies to our vote centers including hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes for the voting booths, tissues and gloves that people using the touchscreens can use," said a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters.

Analysis: Warren is the undercard

Obviously, everyone's watching to see where Sanders and Biden finish in terms of delegates — an answer that might not be fully detailed for days or weeks.

But the undercard is Elizabeth Warren's delegate count. The departures of Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg make it more likely that the Massachusetts senator will make the 15 percent threshold in states and congressional districts across the country. If Sanders and Biden are running close to each other, two or three hundred delegates apiece in the baskets of Warren and Mike Bloomberg over the course of the primary season could easily prevent either Sanders or Biden from winning a majority of delegates outright.

 

Since Bloomberg is running to the right of Biden, his delegates would be very unlikely to move toward Sanders in any scenario.

But Warren's delegates could conceivably go either way — or split — which might end up giving her a ton of leverage heading into the Democratic convention this summer. That's why her delegate count tonight, driven primarily by whether she makes threshold statewide in California and Texas, is a big dynamic to watch.

 

7 things to watch on Super Tuesday

The Democratic contest is rapidly becoming a two-person race between establishment-friendly moderate Joe Biden and progressive populist Bernie Sanders. Super Tuesday will determine which one has the edge — and whether any wild cards remain in the hunt.

It's the biggest day on the primary calendar, with one-third of Democratic delegates up for grabs in 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Vermont — as well as the territory of American Samoa and the votes of those living abroad.

There are several things to watch for on a critical day of voting as the race narrows to four major candidates — Biden, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg.

Click here for the full analysis 

Warren heads to the polls

Elizabeth Warren leaves the voting booth at the Graham & Parks School during the Primary Election on March 3, 2020 in Cambridge, Mass.Scott Eisen / Getty Images

 

Bloomberg: Biden's 'taking votes away from me'

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden was taking away votes that he could be receiving in the Democratic presidential race. 

"Joe's taking votes away from me, and I think that is true," Bloomberg told reporters in Miami, who said  that he's also taking votes away from Biden as the two moderate candidates left in the race. 

 

"Well it goes in both directions. Have you asked Joe whether he's going to drop out?"

Bloomberg predicted that none of the Democratic presidential candidates will receive a majority of the delegates needed to secure the party's nomination, resulting in a contested convention. 

Asked if he wants a contested convention, Bloomberg conceded that that might his only chance of victory. 

"I don't think that I can win any other ways. But [a] contested convention is a democratic process."

Deadly Tennessee tornado alters polling locations for voters

The tornado that tore through central Tennessee early Tuesday morning and killed at least 19 people has prompted the state's Division of Elections to alter some polling times and locations for voters who want to cast ballots in today's primary. 

Nashville was among the hardest hit areas, and government officials announced that all polling locations in the region would open an hour late, at 8 a.m., but will still close at 7 p.m. The government also tweeted guidance redirecting voters to other polling locations if their original voting place was affected by the tornado. 

The website for Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said that the state's Division of Elections is open Tuesday and can be reached at 1-877-850-4959. The other divisions of Hargett's office are closed as a result of the tornado. 

Hargett tweeted Tuesday that he's working with election officials to ensure that polling locations in counties experiencing damage are open for the required 10 hours.

Can Latinos seal the deal for Sanders on Super Tuesday?

AUSTIN, Texas — As soon as California moved its primary to Super Tuesday, it was clear Latinos would be crucial in choosing the Democrats’ presidential nominee.

Bernie Sanders is heading into the 14-state primary contest on Tuesday having dominated the Latino vote in the first three states to vote, including Nevada, giving him the early lead in the delegate race.

Now there is potential for Latino voters in California and Texas, which rank first and second in the number of Latinos eligible to vote, to bolster and widen that lead.

“What we saw in Nevada, Bernie was the first candidate to be able to expand his coalition," said Oscar Ramirez, a Democratic strategist with Fulcrum Public Affairs. "He won the majority of Latino votes there. He was the first candidate to be able to grow beyond his base."

But Ramirez added that the Latino electorate varies by state, “and Nevada is very different from Texas.”

Read more here.

Sanders jokes he got 'at least two votes in Vermont'

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders vote in the Vermont primary at their polling place in Burlington, Vermont, on March 3, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters