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.
“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.”