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Former Vice President Joe Biden, participates in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

2020

Joe Biden easily defeats Bernie Sanders in Florida primary

He gets the lion’s share of 219 delegates at stake.

Joe Biden has won the biggest primary prize of the night, winning Florida by a landslide.

An initial round of early and mail-in votes counted shows Biden besting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

That means Biden will take the bulk of 219 delegates up for grabs based on Florida’s primary results.

With those votes pouring in statewide, and 99.82% precincts reporting, Biden was leading in the state with 61.94% of the vote. Sanders had 22.83%.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only other Democrat on the Florida ballot who has not dropped out, did not perform well enough to win any Florida delegates and was bringing in just 0.5% of the vote.

Turnout overall in Tuesday’s election in Florida was 30.06%.

Biden’s victory in the Sunshine State comes as no surprise, with a number of polls showing him with the lead.

A regular St. Pete Polls survey commissioned by Florida Politics has shown Biden ahead of Sanders since January.

The poll shows former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg surging and for a time leading Biden in the state. But that collapsed after a poor debate performance by Bloomberg.

Throughout the build-up phase to Florida’s election, all the motion appeared to be between Biden and Bloomberg, who dropped out after a poor performance on Super Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Super Tuesday vaulted Biden to new heights. The last poll taken by St. Pete Polls ahead of the primary showed 69% of Florida voters favoring Biden while Sanders struggled at 14%, not enough to get a share of the statewide batch of delegates.

Of the 219 delegates awarded based on Florida’s primary results, 76 will be awarded based on who won the state. The rest will get divvied based on performance in each of Florida’s 27 Congressional districts. The state has yet to release totals broken down by Congressional district.

There are also 29 “Party Leader Elected Official” delegates who will represent Florida at the national convention. In total, the Florida Democratic Party will send 248 officials to Milwaukee in July.

Ultimately, Florida voted after Biden had already secured a substantial delegate lead. Before Tuesday night, the Associated Press Delegate Tracker estimated 898 delegated for Biden compared to 745 for Sanders. Gabbard has two.

It takes 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination.

The race also took place under especially unusual circumstances. Tuesday’s primaries were the first since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic.

While five states postponed voting because of the COVID-19 crisis, Secretary of State Laurel Lee affirmed the vote would continue in Florida. She maintained the election was running smoothly even as some elections supervisors had poll workers quit or fail to show as late as Tuesday.

Quarantines and self-isolating also impacted the campaigns themselves.

Biden’s victory came even after he did not personally visit the populous state leading up to the Tuesday primary.

Rather, the Biden campaign shifted a number of rallies and canvassing events to virtual organizing. Dedicated voter mobilization groups met via conference call and outreach efforts shifted to digital mediums in hopes of reaching voters trapped in their own homes.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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