Joe Biden campaigning
Joe Biden has often been accused of inappropriate behavior towards others (Photo: Gage Skidmore, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden has edged ahead of Bernie Sanders in Wash­ing­ton State’s 2020 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry and is now the plu­ral­i­ty vote get­ter, new results tab­u­lat­ed by coun­ty elec­tions offi­cials show.

As of this evening (March 11th) Biden had moved past Sanders to claim around 34.79% of the vote, up from 32.51% last night.

In last night’s ear­ly returns, Sanders led by Biden by 2,084 votes.

Now, Biden leads Sanders by 14,938 votes statewide.

Biden also cap­tured a plu­ral­i­ty of the vote in King Coun­ty and Jef­fer­son Coun­ty, where Sanders had been ahead, though Sanders over­took him in Spokane County.

If the cur­rent trend con­tin­ues, Biden will win Wash­ing­ton State, secur­ing a plu­ral­i­ty of the vote in a sixth state that Sanders won in 2016. (Biden has already tak­en Min­neso­ta, Okla­homa, Maine, Michi­gan, and Ida­ho out of Sanders’ column).

Many observers had expect­ed Sanders to win Wash­ing­ton State and may find Biden’s per­for­mance sur­pris­ing. It’s worth not­ing that the ear­li­est poll of the pri­ma­ry elec­torate we know of, from Zog­by’s firm, found Biden with a one point edge over Sanders. That poll was tak­en last sum­mer, an eon ago in politics.

Since then, Biden’s cam­paign has waned and roared back to life. A poll back in Jan­u­ary by Sur­veyUSA put Sanders ahead in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry; a more recent poll tak­en last week found Sanders and Biden tied.

The momen­tum is clear­ly all on Joe Biden’s side right now, and Sanders’ path to the nom­i­na­tion is dis­ap­pear­ing extreme­ly rapidly.

After choos­ing not to offer an ini­tial com­ment on last night’s results, Sanders appeared at a news con­fer­ence today in Burling­ton to declare that he would remain in the race and was look­ing for­ward to debat­ing Joe Biden one-on-one this Sun­day in Ari­zona. The two men will face off with no audi­ence due to coro­n­avirus con­cerns, which will make the dynam­ic between them very different.

Sanders acknowl­edged his cam­paign isn’t get­ting the results it had hoped for, and hint­ed that he might exit the race pri­or to the 2020 DNC in Milwaukee.

As The New York Times put it:

“There was no defi­ant bat­tle cry on Wednes­day, no vow to fight Mr. Biden all the way to the Mil­wau­kee con­ven­tion in July, no alle­ga­tion of elec­tion-rig­ging or insin­u­a­tion of an estab­lish­ment con­spir­a­cy like he mem­o­rably made in 2016.”

For his part, Biden has tried to be mag­nan­i­mous in vic­to­ry, rec­og­niz­ing that he will need the sup­port of the move­ment that is back­ing Bernie for the pres­i­den­cy to suc­cess­ful­ly take out Don­ald Trump, the most cor­rupt pres­i­dent in history.

“I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his sup­port­ers for their tire­less ener­gy and their pas­sion,” Biden said in his vic­to­ry speech to sup­port­ers in Philadel­phia. “We share a com­mon goal, and togeth­er we can defeat Don­ald Trump.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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