Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Joe Biden cements front-runner status for Democratic leadership

The former vice president won four states on Tuesday, dealing a blow to Bernie Sanders

Former US vice president Joe Biden secured his front-runner status and expanded his delegate lead in the Democratic race against Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, scoring wins in four states, including in the blue collar swing state of Michigan.

Mr Biden won Michigan with a comfortable 17 per cent margin, dealing a blow to Mr Sanders who won that state against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The former Vice President also won in Mississippi, Missouri, Idaho and pulled slightly ahead in the state of Washington, while North Dakota offered Mr Sanders the only win of the night.

The wins solidified Mr Biden's delegate lead, now at 842 compared to 681 for Mr Sanders. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 1,991 delegates.

Addressing his supporters, Mr Biden called it "another good night" for his campaign, but said the race is not over.

Tuesday's results showed Mr Biden performed well with working-class and African American voters.

Added to his "Super Tuesday” wins last week, the former Vice President is emerging as a unifying candidate for Democrats. He was endorsed by 11 of his previous contenders for the nomination: Kamala Harris, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Deval Patrick, John Delaney, Eric Swalwell and Tim Ryan.

Mr Yang who supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, was the most recent former candidate to endorse Mr Biden, showing his support for him on CNN on Tuesday.

Mr Sanders was endorsed by two former rivals: Bill de Blasio and Marianne Williamson. Elizabeth Warren, who ended her campaign last week, has not endorsed a candidate yet.

Following the disappointing result, Mr Sanders announced that he would be heading to his home state of Vermont, but there were no signs that the Senator will be dropping out of the race.

Tuesday’s winning margins showed the Biden campaign's strength in both the South and the Midwest. If he wins the nomination, it’s an argument that will help him in the general election against Donald Trump, said statistician and election analyst Nate Silver.

Mr Biden is shifting his focus and attacks to Mr Trump and is planning to give a speech on the coronavirus epidemic from his home town in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday.

Updated: March 11, 2020 06:38 PM

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