Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has captured the biggest prize of the Super Tuesday primaries with a first-place finish in California, the Associated Press projects.
Sanders’ west coast win comes as a big relief to the New England senator who lost a majority of the Super Tuesday contest states to former Vice President Joe Biden, who swept the southern primaries with big wins in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Biden has also been declared the winner in Minnesota and Massachusetts, two states where Biden had no presence, while Sanders has only been projected to win Utah, Colorado, and his own home state of Vermont in addition to California.
Biden’s extraordinary wins follow a game-changing 72 hours where Biden, who went into South Carolina as a faltering candidate triumphantly emerged with a re-energized campaign after a 28-point blow out joined by a series of high-profile endorsements from former 2020 rivals and prominent Democrats. On the eve of Super Tuesday, Biden landed support from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke. Biden also won endorsements from former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
While Sanders may have captured California in a win of redemption from a poor performance on Tuesday, the size of Sanders’ victory hinges on whether the other candidates will meet the threshold to land delegates to split the 415 delegate spoils in the west coast contest.
No state in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is a winner-take-all contest this year, but candidates must hit 15 percent support statewide to win at-large delegates of 15 percent in congressional districts to score district delegates.
To avoid a contested convention in Milwaukee, the winning candidate must garner 1,991 of the 3,979 delegates in play. More than a third of the total delegates in the race will be decided in the 16 states and territories that voted on Super Tuesday.