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.
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NBC News Exit Poll: 3 in 10 Super Tuesday voters say they picked a candidate in just the last few days
Many voters in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primaries across the country waited until just recently to choose a candidate, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll conducted in 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states.
About 1 in 10 voters said they waited until Tuesday to decide on their choice, and another 19 percent of voters decided in just “the last few days.”
The share of voters making late decisions is of particular interest this year, as two candidates — Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar — dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden in the 48 hours before polls opened across the country.
Results reflect data combined from NBC News Exit Poll surveys conducted in 12 of the 14 states holding Democratic presidential primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday (Alabama, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia). Results are weighted to reflect differences in the sizes of state electorates.
NBC News Exit Poll: Voters split on if they prefer return to Obama era versus more liberal policies
Former President Barack Obama may be deeply popular with rank and file Democrats, but Super Tuesday voters today are divided over whether they’d like to see a return to the former president’s policies — or if they instead prefer policies that are even more liberal.
According to the NBC News Exit Poll conducted in 12 of the 14 Super Tuesday states, 44 percent of Democratic voters across the country would like the next president to return to Obama’s policies. That’s just slightly ahead of the 38 percent of voters who prefer more liberal policies. Reflecting the liberal tilt of the Democratic primary electorate, just 11 percent want to change to more conservative policies.
Results reported here reflect data combined from NBC News Exit Poll surveys conducted in 12 of the 14 states holding Democratic presidential primaries on Super Tuesday (Alabama, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia). Results are weighted to reflect differences in the sizes of state electorates.
Bloomberg campaign denies report he's being pushed to drop out
Biden now giving Sanders a run for his money — on Google
Biden is making a comeback on Sanders — in terms of Google searches.
While Sanders has generally been the most-Googled candidate in 2020 — and particularly over the last couple weeks — Biden has come roaring back in the last few days, according to data from Google Trends.
Volunteers outraged after voters face hours-long lines in Houston
HOUSTON — Local Democratic Party volunteers here were outraged after some voters in a predominantly black and Latino community in north Houston had to wait up to three hours to cast ballots Tuesday morning.
Election workers said technical problems with some of the voting machines assigned to Democratic primary voters led to the delays at the Fallbrook Church voting site. Residents casting ballots in the Republican primary were not affected.
Karen Griffin, a 63-year-old retired college administrator, waited two and a half hours to cast a ballot for Joe Biden, who she said was best suited to beat Trump.
"I don’t think it’s right that someone should have to wait that long to participate in our democratic process," Griffin said after voting at around noon.
The Rev. Stan Hillard, 67, spent a few minutes in line Tuesday afternoon before leaving in search of another voting location. In Harris County, voters can vote at any polling location, but Hillard said he wasn’t sure where he needed to go.
"It’s inconvenient, but this is too important," said Hillard, who said he planned to vote for Biden in the hopes that he would defeat Trump and "restore this country’s moral integrity."
Rosalind Caesar, 44, a Democratic Party precinct chair, spent Tuesday morning helping voters who didn’t have time to wait to find different voting locations.
"I think it’s more than a little ironic that in this heavily Democratic precinct, it’s only the machines for the Democratic primary that aren’t working," said Caesar, noting that some voters might not have time to find another location. "The county needs to get someone out here to fix this."
In Texas, polls are open until 7 p.m.
'Delegate math': Inside the Biden campaign's Super Tuesday strategy
OAKLAND, Calif. — Joe Biden never expected a coronation, and his campaign prepared accordingly.
Despite his status as a former vice president and widely-admired party elder, his campaign knew the crowded field and ideological diversity of the party would pose headwinds for him and suggested a long, bruising battle for the nomination. The fact that Biden was never a prolific fundraiser also meant what resources the campaign had would need to be invested with great precision.
So the Biden campaign’s approach to Super Tuesday perhaps best illustrates what became a mantra of his top strategists: if Andrew Yang was the “math” candidate, Biden would be the delegate math candidate.
While much of the focus Tuesday will be on the statewide results in the more than dozen Super Tuesday contests, the Biden team will be looking just as closely for the results district-by-district — especially in the South. Of the more than 1,300 delegates at stake Tuesday, 875 will be awarded not based on the statewide tally but from the results in individual congressional districts (or, in the case of Texas, state senate districts).
For the full look at Biden’s delegate strategy, read here.
Trump on Democratic candidates: 'Whoever it is, I don't care'
Ahead of more than a dozen primary contests Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he doesn't care who secures the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
"Whoever it is, I don't care. I really don't care. Whoever it is, we will take them on," Trump told reporters outside of the White House, touting a rebuilt military and a strong economy.
Trump said he would "very gladly" debate "any of them" in the general election and is ready "to take on anybody."
The president said that there's "no question" that the Democratic establishment is trying to take the nomination away from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
"Look, a lot's going to be learned tonight. We'll see how well Biden does; we'll see how well Sanders does. I would have said two, three days ago, Biden was not looking too good. Now he's looking better," he said. "Probably by 9 or 10 o'clock tonight, we're going to have some big answers."
Paper ballots, transportation issues in Tennessee after tornado
At least one polling station in a Tennessee county began using paper primary ballots Tuesday after a tornado ripped through the central part of the state, killing at least 22 people.
The polling place in Wilson County's St. Stephen Catholic Church, east of Nashville, began using paper ballots because it lost electricity, said Lauren Breeze, a member of the county's election commission.
As a result of the tornado damage, a number of people had to enter two shelters that opened in Wilson County, including 35 to 40 people at Victory Baptist Church and at least 13 people at the Highland Heights Church of Christ. Neither shelter was offering transportation to polling sites, Breeze said.
In addition, two high schools in the county that were originally supposed to be polling locations were closed because of storm damage. Voters who were assigned to those sites have been redirected to other locations.
Homeland Security hasn't seen signs of election meddling — so far
The Department of Homeland Security is “at a heightened state of operational readiness” as Super Tuesday voting gets underway, a senior official said Tuesday.
In a press call Tuesday morning, a senior official at DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters that the agency’s two election war rooms in Arlington, Virginia — one classified and one unclassified, and filled with representatives from multiple levels of government — had been on alert for potential issues “since early January,” but hadn’t seen anything concerning yet. Per the terms of the call, the senior official requested to not be identified by name.
CISA has sought to take a clearer leadership role in election security since January 2017, when DHS classified U.S. elections as critical infrastructure after the Russian government interfered in the 2016 campaign.
While declining to share specifics, the government was monitoring “low-level” of activity targeting the major threats to elections, cyberactivity on election-related infrastructure and dis- or misinformation campaigns. But that’s a constant, the official said.
Constant scanning of internet-connected networks is a reality, and influence operations are “a 365-day threat,” the official said. "There’s a low level of constant activity, but at the moment we’re not seeing any appreciable increase or spike in activity."
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."
“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
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.”
Sanders jokes he got 'at least two votes in Vermont'
Campaign's next phase: Go big to win, or hang on for dear life
WASHINGTON — The Democratic presidential primary is about to super-scale, moving from a series of single-state battles for momentum to a national multifront war for delegates, putting extra pressure on underdog campaigns that can't raise huge amounts of money or field large armies of supporters in dozens of places at once.
Half the states in the country will vote this month, making the person-to-person politics of the small early states no match for the more-is-more style of campaigning needed to win mega-states like California, Texas, Florida and Illinois, which all vote this month.
The scale of the coming contests is enormous. About 10 times as many delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday as were up for grabs in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined, and nearly three times as many people have already voted early in California alone as voted in all four early states.
"There are a bunch of candidates who need to ask themselves why they're in this race," said Lilly Adams, a former top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris' presidential campaign. "Are they in it today to be introduced as a presidential candidate at events, or are they in it to win? If they are the former, not the latter, then they should get out."
Everything you need to know about Super Tuesday
The Democratic presidential candidates are in crunch mode as they prepare for the most important day in the primary race so far: Super Tuesday.
More than a million voters across over a dozen states have already voted early or by mail-in ballot, but the rest will head to the polls Tuesday to make their choice.