A resurgent Joe Biden rode a wave of momentum to win Texas and eight other states, while Bernie Sanders was leading in Super Tuesday's biggest race in California, setting up a one-on-one battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In a surprisingly strong showing, Biden rolled to victories across the South, Midwest and New England on the biggest day of voting in the Democratic campaign. Americans in 14 states cast ballots to select a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
In what would be the day's biggest upset, Biden was projected by Edison Research to have won Texas, the biggest prize after California. Sanders invested heavily in Texas and was counting on its sizeable Latino population to propel him to victory.
"For those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign," said Biden, the former vice president who had performed poorly in the first three nominating contests but broke through with a win in South Carolina.
"We are very much alive," he told roaring supporters in Los Angeles.
Sanders, the one-time front-runner who had hoped to take a big step toward the nomination on Tuesday, won Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont, Edison Research said.
Fox News and AP projected Sanders won California, whose 415 delegates represent the largest haul in the nominating contest. But Edison Research and other networks held off declaring a winner as results trickled in. Maine was a toss-up, with both Biden and Sanders winning roughly a third of the vote with 72% of the precincts reporting.
With overwhelming support from African-American, moderate and older voters, Biden also swept to wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.
It was a spectacular turn for Biden, whose campaign was on life support after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. Until a week ago he trailed Sanders in most state and national opinion polls.
But Biden's blowout win in South Carolina on Saturday provided a burst of new momentum, fueling a wave of endorsements from elected Democratic officials and former presidential rivals including Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
Biden spent most of the past few months in the early voting states and did not personally campaign in several of the states he ultimately won, including Minnesota, in the months leading up to Super Tuesday.
Biden called Klobuchar Tuesday night to thank her for the Minnesota win, after she dropped her own presidential bid and publicly endorsed Biden at his rally in Texas the night before, a Biden campaign official said.
Today, they appear online as lonely candidates hunkered down in their homes, forced off the trail and into campaign reinvention mode as the intensifying coronavirus pandemic upends the Democratic presidential primaries along with every other aspect of American life.
The former vice president's third big night in as many weeks came amid tremendous uncertainty as the Democratic contest collides with efforts to slow the spread of the virus that has shut down large swaths of American life.
Barring unforeseen disaster, Joe Biden will represent the Democratic Party against President Donald Trump this fall, the former vice president's place on the general election ballot cemented by Bernie Sanders' decision to end his campaign.
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