Joe Biden soars in primary states as others endorse him

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Joe Biden
Joe Biden on Super Tuesday in California

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg helped lead the endorsements the day before

Super Tuesday voting revealed that moderate Democrats across the country seem ready to embrace a strategy of getting behind one candidate to seek the party nomination for president. It was a strategy that began rolling when three moderate Democrats—including openly gay hopeful Pete Buttigieg—dropped out of the campaign for the nomination. Buttigieg and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar threw their support to former Vice President Joe Biden.

As of Wednesday morning, Biden had won the popular vote in nine, possibly 10, of the 14 Super Tuesday states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Maine. Sanders won four: California, Colorado, Utah, and his home state of Vermont.

California holds the lion’s share of delegates (415) for the Democratic National Convention, followed by Texas with 228, North Carolina with 110, Virginia with 99, and Massachusetts with 91, giving Biden the lead now on delegates.

The strongest evidence for the get-behind-one-moderate strategy was Massachusetts—home state of presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, neighboring state of presumed frontrunner Bernie Sanders, and native state of billionaire former Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Massachusetts voted for Biden.

Biden surged from poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire to the leader of the pack following the South Carolina primary, overtaking Sanders in the delegate count. And Super Tuesday’s voting was a blow to Sanders, who had been leading in many polls and was expected to win a perhaps insurmountable lead in the delegate count. Instead, at deadline, he trailed Biden.

The final count on who won how many delegates in the Super Tuesday primaries won’t be known for several days, largely due to California allowing voters to put their ballots in the mail on primary day.

Information about the LGBT communitty—endorsements, donations, and informal polls—suggested its vote was split between Buttigieg and Warren. But Buttigieg and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar withdrew Sunday after the South Carolina primary. Businessman Tom Steyer withdrew on Saturday night. And on Monday, Buttigieg and Klobuchar endorsed Biden.

Buttigieg told a small crowd in Dallas prior to a Biden campaign rally that the goal of his campaign had always been “much bigger than me becoming president.” Buttigieg praised Biden as bringing back the “politics of decency” and having a record of “delivering” action on some of the most important issues—”taking on the NRA, negotiating the Paris Climate Accord, shepherding through the Affordable Care Act.”

Biden thanked Buttigieg for his endorsement and paid him “the highest compliment I can give any man or woman.”

“He reminds me of my son, Beau,” said Biden, who was famously very close to his elder son, a veteran of the war in Iraq and Attorney General of Delaware. Beau Biden died of a brain tumor in May 2015, just as his father was considering a run for president. Biden said that, when he looked over at Buttigieg during the debates, he thought to himself, “That’s Beau.”

Biden said Buttigieg is a “man of enormous integrity,” who has “as much moral courage as he does physical courage.”

“There are a generation of leaders Pete’s age who have unlimited potential. If Pete had been around here another six years…I would be endorsing Pete.”

Later Monday evening, in an interview, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Biden if he would consider Buttigieg and Klobuchar for roles in a Biden administration.

Biden said he thinks it is “important to bring along a new generation of politicians,” and that “there are a lot of things he could do in an administration if I’m the president.”

Interestingly, there has been speculation among various political observers that Buttigieg might be a vice presidential choice for Biden and openly lesbian U.S. Tammy Baldwin might be such a choice for Sanders.

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