Biden wins all 7 Southern states; Mike Bloomberg drops out after failing to break through in his campaign debut
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
(CFP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled to wins in all seven Southern Super Tuesday primaries, cementing his status as the new front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and handing a string of defeats to Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Tuesday’s triumphs across the South — including the biggest prize, Texas — marked a remarkable four-day swing by the Biden campaign, fueled by a stronger-than-expected win on Saturday in South Carolina that prompted three other candidates to exit the race, two of whom then endorsed Biden.
In the wake of the Super Tuesday results, Bloomberg, too, exited the race and endorsed Biden.
Speaking to jubilant supporters in Los Angeles as the scope of his victories became clear, Biden noted that “just a few days ago, the press and the pundits had declared this campaign dead.”
“We were told, well, when it got to Super Tuesday, it would be over. Well, it may be over — for the other guy,” he said.
Biden won Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma and Arkansas by double digits. He won by more than 40 points in Alabama, where a majority of the Democratic voters were African American, and by 30 points in Virginia, buoyed both by a strong result among black voters and in the suburban counties around Washington, D.C.
His margin over Sanders was much smaller in Texas, at 4 percent.
In the race to pile up delegates, the size of Biden’s victories in the South allowed him to build a 130-plus margin over Sanders and overtake him as the delegate leader nationwide.
Bloomberg, making his campaign debut after skipping South Carolina and three other early states, came in a distant third in all of the Southern states except Virginia, where he finished fourth. He won just 21 delegates.
On election night, Bloomberg had sounded a note of optimism, saying the results showed his late-starting campaign was viable. But by Wednesday morning, he announced that he had concluded he had no viable path to the nomination and endorsed Biden.
The Super Tuesday results continue a tale of woe for Sanders in the South, where he was buried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Oklahoma was one of only two Southern states Sanders won in 2016, along with West Virginia, but this time around, Biden beat him in the Sooner State by 13 points. And as in 2016, Biden’s won across the region by beating Sanders by large margins among African American voters.
Sanders used his election night speech to supporters in his home state of Vermont to exude confidence — and to draw a contrast between what he described as his “movement” for fundamental change and the status quo represented by the former vice president.
“We’re going to win because the people understand it is our campaign, our movement, which is best positioned to defeat Trump,” he said. “You cannot defeat Trump with the same old, same old kind of politics. What we need is a new kind of politics that brings working class people into our political movement, which brings young people into our political movement.”
The next Southern stop on the presidential campaign trail is Mississippi, which votes March 10, followed by Florida on March 17 and Georgia on March 24.