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Super Tuesday preview: 5 candidates remain as voters in 14 states cast ballots

Super Tuesday preview: 5 candidates remain as voters in 14 states cast ballots
Posted at 8:12 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 11:45:13-05

Tuesday marks the biggest day in the nominating race for Democratic hopefuls in this year’s presidential election. Nearly one-third of all pledged delegates will be up for grabs in Tuesday’s race.

In total, 14 states and American Samoa will help decide who the Democratic nominee will be.

Who votes?

Voters in the following states, and one territory, can cast ballots on Tuesday:

Alabama (52 delegates)

American Samoa (6 delegates)
Arkansas (31 delegates)
California (415 delegates)
Colorado (67 delegates)
Maine (24 delegates)
Massachusetts (91 delegates)
Minnesota (75 delegates)
North Carolina (110 delegates)
Oklahoma (37 delegates)
Tennessee (64 delegates)
Texas (228 delegates)
Utah (29 delegates)
Vermont (16 delegates)
Virginia (99 delegates)

Remaining candidates:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (60 delegates)

Vice President Joe Biden (54 delegates)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (8 delegates)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (0 delegates)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (0 delegates)

Who left the race?

Since Biden won in dominating fashion on Saturday, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all withdrawn from the race. Klobuchar and Buttigieg both endorsed Biden on Monday.

Who’s the frontrunner?

Going into last Saturday’s race in South Carolina, many considered Sanders the frontrunner to win the nomination. His frontrunner status has been brought into question thanks to the events of the last three days.

Biden’s surge in South Carolina, plus the sudden withdrawal of several other candidates, could give Biden a boost to what was a slumping campaign. Biden’s campaign has struggled to raise money to have the sort of advertising that Bloomberg and Sanders have. But with several major endorsements, Biden has seen his share of free advertising through news reports and buzz around the campaign.

Bloomberg’s entry

Super Tuesday marks the first time Bloomberg will be competing for votes. He has spent some of his fortune to put his message before voters. For instance, on Sunday during primetime, he took out advertising on several major networks to talk about the coronavirus. He also purchased ad time during the Super Bowl.

But Bloomberg also did not see much of a boost coming out of two debates, his first of which involved attacks from Warren about his handling of non-disclosure agreements with his employees.

What polling says

Recent polls have Sanders ahead nationally, and in leading in many Super Tuesday states including Texas and California. A caveat though is those polls were conducted before Saturday, and how Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer voters sway could determine who wins the majority of delegates on Super Tuesday.

How it could play out

Super Tuesday could give some clarity as to whether the race will be decided during the primary season, or at the Democratic National Convention in July. A candidate is required to win 1991 pledged delegates going into the convention. Failure to win a majority of delegates will result in hundreds of so-called “Super Delegates” to cast a ballot during a second round of voting.

How likely of a scenario is a brokered convention? Election forecast site 538 gives the odds of a brokered convention at 2 out of 3.

But the site also gives both Sanders and Biden a one in six chance to win the nomination outright.

Why 15% matters?

In order to gain delegates from a state, earning 15% of the vote is the minimum threshold. Among the candidates in each state who win 15% of the vote, the number of delegates is allocated proportionally based on their performance throughout the entire state and within the state’s congressional districts.