NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Joe Biden wins Oregon presidential primary, giving him a clean sweep of the Pacific NW

Pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee Joe Biden has won Ore­gon’s 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, ear­ly returns indi­cate, giv­ing Biden his fourth con­sec­u­tive win in the Pacif­ic North­west, a region that went big for Bernie Sanders four years ago.

As of 9:30 PM Pacif­ic Time, Biden had a whop­ping 68.84% of the vote (with 289,688 bal­lots cast for him), com­pared to 18.24% for Bernie Sanders, who was just above the via­bil­i­ty thresh­old. Eliz­a­beth War­ren was in third place with 9.17%.

Write-in can­di­dates account­ed for anoth­er 2.06%. Tul­si Gab­bard had 1.7%.

420,844 total votes have been tab­u­lat­ed in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry thus far. The total will increase before the nom­i­nat­ing event is cer­ti­fied.

Biden is win­ning every Ore­gon coun­ty that has report­ed results so far, includ­ing the pro­gres­sive strong­holds of Mult­nom­ah and Lane. Three coun­ties (Yamhill, Kla­math, and Lake) haven’t report­ed any results at all so far.

Sanders’ per­for­mance is Mult­nom­ah (home to Port­land, Ore­gon) is not much high­er than his statewide per­for­mance. He has 23.07% of the vote there com­pared to 18.24% statewide. Biden has over 61% in Mult­nom­ah.

A sub­stan­tial con­tin­gent of Mult­nom­ah vot­ers are clear­ly still in Eliz­a­beth War­ren’s camp, as she has 13.36% of the vote in Mult­nom­ah.

Ore­gon is a vote at home state — the first vote at home state, in fact — so it did not face the same obsta­cles that oth­er states have recent­ly faced in try­ing to hold a nom­i­nat­ing event or state-lev­el pri­ma­ry elec­tion dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Vot­ers are mailed bal­lots by the state, which can be returned through the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice or direct­ly to elec­tions offi­cials through a drop box.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, Biden won Wash­ing­ton State and Ida­ho’s pres­i­den­tial pri­maries on March 10th, then romped to vic­to­ry in Alaska’a par­ty run pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, the first nom­i­nat­ing event to be held fol­low­ing Bernie Sanders’ with­draw­al.

Biden’s mar­gin of vic­to­ry in Ore­gon will be far greater than his mar­gins in any oth­er Pacif­ic North­west state, undoubt­ed­ly thanks to the fact that he has been the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee dur­ing the entire­ty of the vot­ing peri­od. Biden was able to take Wash­ing­ton and Ida­ho out of Sanders’ win col­umn back when Sanders was still an active can­di­date, demon­strat­ing that his can­di­da­cy had far greater appeal amongst Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers than Hillary Clin­ton’s 2016 cam­paign did.

Here’s a com­par­i­son of each nom­i­nat­ing event:

StateJoe BidenBernie Sanders
Ore­gon (in progress)68.84% | 289,688*18.24% | 76,746*
Alas­ka (April 4th)55.3% | 10,83444.7% | 8,755
Wash­ing­ton (March 10th)37.94% | 591,40336.57% | 570,039
Ida­ho (March 10th)48.92% | 53,15142.44% | 46,114

* indi­cates as of press time

Sanders was clos­est to Biden in Wash­ing­ton State, one of his 2016 bas­tions, which he over­whelm­ing­ly dom­i­nat­ed in 2016, when the state used cau­cus­es to allo­cate all of its nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates. How­ev­er, Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers ulti­mate­ly joined Ida­ho’s in favor­ing Biden by a plu­ral­i­ty.

Sanders’ cam­paign nev­er recov­ered from the one-two punch of Super Tues­day (March 3rd) and Super Tues­day II, or Mini Tues­day (March 10th).

Though Sanders ini­tial­ly pressed on in the wake of Eliz­a­beth War­ren’s exit, he was unable to secure any key wins, and the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic made it impos­si­ble to do in-per­son field orga­niz­ing cat­alyzed by ral­lies and events. The day after vot­ing end­ed in Wis­con­sin’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, Sanders announced he would sus­pend his cam­paign. He endorsed Biden less than a week lat­er.

Mon­tana, the one oth­er state in the greater Pacif­ic North­west, has yet to hold its nom­i­nat­ing event. The state is slat­ed to hold its pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry on June 2nd.

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