Joe Biden was the projected winner of the Florida presidential primary, in a vote on Tuesday that was overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis.
The blowout win is expected to extend Biden’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Two other states have primaries on Tuesday, Arizona and Illinois, while a fourth, Ohio, postponed its primary after a last-minute ruling from the state Supreme Court. Instead, Ohio is joining a host of states delaying their votes to later in the spring, as the coronavirus limits public gatherings and exposes older voters and poll workers to increased risk.
Just a week ago, campaigns were just starting to adapt to the new reality of limited public appearances and virtual town halls and rallies. Biden and Sanders scrapped planned rallies in Ohio that night.
The impact of the national emergency also was apparent in the polls: In Illinois, for instance, 87% of voters said that they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned over the virus, according to a CNN survey.
The coronavirus also put limits on exit polling. Edison Research announced that it would not be conducting in-person surveys for the news networks. They did conduct phone polls.
CNN’s Gloria Borger called the day “surreal,” noting images of those in lines at polls in Illinois, spacing themselves out with a social distance.
More than 60% of the delegates will have been awarded by the end of the evening.
A string of Biden victories, coupled with the moves by states to postpone their primaries, could place pressure on Sanders to drop out. The Vermont senator spoke earlier in the evening about the coronavirus crisis and a plan to give every American $2,000 a month in stimulus payments, but he did not talk about the primaries.
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