RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WWBT) - Bernie Sanders has seized victory in Super Tuesday’s biggest prize, California, while a resurgent Joe Biden scored wins in the upper Midwest and African American strongholds in the South.
The two Democrats were battling for delegates as 14 states and one U.S. territory held a series of high-stakes presidential primary elections.
California is the crown jewel of Super Tuesday and was not expected to report final results until early Wednesday, though Sanders appeared to have an advantage there.
Biden took Arkansas, Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia, while Sanders won Colorado, Utah and Vermont.
The Old Dominion was one of 14 states voting in what’s known as the “Super Tuesday” Democratic primary. Virginia has 99 delegates at stake. It has been considered a tossup state that is increasingly moving to the left.
The results of the Democratic primary in Virginia, with its diverse electoral terrain of rural, urban, and suburban voters, could be a key indicator of which Democrat will be chosen to face President Donald Trump in the general election.
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger also announced her endorsement of Biden for president on Tuesday and release the following statement in part:
“I believe Joe Biden has the empathy, decency, and heart for the American people that we need in the White House, and I am proud to support his candidacy. Joe has frequently said that our country’s best days lie ahead, and I deeply believe that to be true. However, I know that our march towards progress must be rooted in a commitment to all Americans, and it requires continued, fearless, and earnest work to create an ever-better future for our country, our children, and our grandchildren. I know Joe Biden can lead this charge as President of the United States.”
A watch party for Biden was being held at the Metro Bar and Grill, while a Sanders watch party at his Richmond campaign office.
“I think he has integrity and cares about everybody and I believe what he says. He’s very trustworthy,” said Biden supporter Deb Green at the watch party at Metro Bar and Grill.
Several Biden supporters at the party described themselves as moderate and believe a moderate candidate stands the best chance to win the White House in the November election.
“I like a lot of the moderate candidates this year, but I felt like he was the strongest one at the top of the ticket,” said Biden supporter Nancy Sydnor.
Sanders supporters in Virginia were disappointed by Tuesday’s election results considering the Commonwealth chose Biden as the winner.
There were about 30 or so people at Sanders’ campaign office in downtown Richmond Tuesday evening. The whole evening, the mood was lowkey but hopeful – until multiple outlets began to call the election for Biden.
There was a lot of momentum following Sanders’ massive campaign rally in Richmond last week which brought out thousands of supporters. Many say they believe in Sanders’ progressive stance on matters of education and healthcare.
21-year-old Miriam Tareq says this is the first presidential election she’s able to vote in and she was hoping Bernie would be the Democrats’ candidate of choice.
"I just hope that I can keep the hope that I have in the people and in the democracy, and if we’re back at square one then we’ll keep fighting until we find someone else who can support us like Bernie has,” she said.
Following Senator Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropping out of the race, the Bernie camp was hoping their supporters would come their way, though both of those former candidates threw their support to Biden.
As of 4:45 p.m., Henrico County was reporting 20 percent voter turnout, with Richmond at 25 percent, Petersburg with 15.6 percent and Chesterfield with 16 percent. Earlier in the day, Hanover County reported seeing above-average voter turnout.
Precincts across Central Virginia said that voting equipment had been running smoothly. Richmond officials said they did deal with usual issues, including a ballot jam.
Some voters at the Central Virginia polls said issues like climate change, universal healthcare and tuition-free education were driving them to the polls this Super Tuesday.
Across the commonwealth, Democratic primary voter ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, well above climate change, the economy, race relations, foreign policy and many other social issues. That’s according to a wide-ranging AP VoteCast survey of the Democratic primary electorate in Virginia.
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