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11 Mar, 2020 01:06

Biden projected to take Michigan, as he seeks to widen his lead over Sanders

Biden projected to take Michigan, as he seeks to widen his lead over Sanders

Exit polls from Michigan show Joe Biden ahead of Bernie Sanders in the state’s primary contest, cementing the former VP's position as the front-runner in the Democrat presidential race. Sanders won the state back in 2016.

Democratic Party frontrunner Joe Biden edged out rival Bernie Sanders as polls closed in Michigan, with early counts giving him 52.1 percent of the vote. Voters in some cities were still waiting to cast their ballots, however, with some waiting an average of three hours.

Before polls closed, state officials warned that primary results would likely be delayed due to a backlog in counting absentee ballots. The state expanded its vote-by-mail options to all citizens last year and has already received over 800,000 absentee votes, which it was only permitted to start counting Tuesday morning.

Michigan’s 125 delegates are at stake as the last of the polls close at 9pm Eastern (0100 GMT). Sanders won the state handily in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, only for it to go to Donald Trump by a narrow margin in the general election that November.

While pre-election polls showed Biden with a comfortable lead over his rival, the candidate did himself no favors with Michigan voters, getting into a shouting match with a factory worker during a campaign stop on Tuesday after the man accused him of trying to take Americans’ guns. Instead of trying to smooth-talk his way out of it, the former vice president called the worker a “horse’s ass” who was “full of s**t,” shocking onlookers.

Sanders himself had staked his hopes on winning Michigan, telling reporters last week that it was the “most important state” for his campaign. Should he fail to produce an upset victory in the manner of 2016, his chances of clinching the nomination decrease dramatically, with the matter likely going to a vote at the Democratic National Convention.

The Vermont senator came out of the gate strong, winning two out of the first three primaries and coming out on top of the popular vote in the third, only for Biden to overtake him on Super Tuesday. Sanders supporters have accused the Democratic National Committee of rigging several states’ primaries against their candidate, noting suspicious disparities between exit polls and reported vote totals in South Carolina, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Also on rt.com Voters face delays, untested new procedures in Michigan, Missouri, Washington, Mississippi, Idaho, and North Dakota

To secure the Democratic nomination, either candidate would have to win 1,991 delegates. Should Biden bag Michigan, his chances of doing so increase markedly.

Biden supporters took to Twitter to gloat...

...while the candidate himself picked up a surprise endorsement from businessman Andrew Yang, a Democratic candidate-turned CNN pundit.

But not everyone was buying the “Biden wave.”

A total of 352 delegates are up for grabs in what is known as Big Tuesday, with Democrats in Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington also voting.

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