Joe Biden Wins Primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona: Highlights

 Mr. Biden captured easy victories in all three states that voted on Tuesday. Bernie Sanders’s chances of a comeback in the Democratic presidential race have all but evaporated.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. easily won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on Tuesday. The three states award a total of 441 delegates for the party’s presidential nomination.

Mr. Biden’s victories over Senator Bernie Sanders effectively ended his rival’s hopes of a comeback. Mr. Biden currently has 1,147 delegates to Mr. Sanders’s 861.

These were the first primaries to be held amid the heightened fear and restrictions triggered by the coronavirus. The Trump administration has recommended avoiding groups of more than 10 people, and turnout was down in Illinois on Tuesday. But extensive early voting helped lift turnout in Florida and Arizona.


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Mr. Biden continued his string of victories by winning the Arizona primary, dashing Mr. Sanders’s hopes in a state with many Latino voters.

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Mr. Sanders held a rally in Phoenix this month before the coronavirus curtailed in-person campaigning, and he did well with Latino voters in previous contests. Younger Latino voters, in particular, have been receptive to Mr. Sanders’s candidacy.

But Mr. Biden was still victorious in Tuesday’s primary, completing his sweep of the day’s three contests. Arizona was the smallest delegate prize of the day, and Mr. Sanders also lost there in 2016 when he faced Hillary Clinton.

Turnout was on pace to surpass the 2016 primary, according to the secretary of state’s office. In Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, more than 40,000 people voted in person Tuesday, compared to 35,000 there in 2016, according to the county registrar.


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Much of Mr. Sanders’s support has come from young voters, but it is unclear how that played out in Arizona. Voter surveys suggested that the turnout was driven largely by people over the age of 45. And activists supporting Mr. Sanders said over the weekend that they expected many of his core supporters would be less likely to cast ballots, as the pandemic shut down much of the service industry and concerns mounted over their health and keeping their jobs.


‘We’re All in This Together,’ Biden Says

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. addressed his supporters after the latest round of primary elections.

Good evening, everyone. Last week, I had the honor of speaking to all of you from Philadelphia, the birthplace of the foundational documents of our democracy. Tonight, in keeping with the latest guidance from the C.D.C. to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, I’m speaking to you from my home in Wilmington, Del. I hope all of you are staying safe, talking and taking the recommended precautions and talking to the doctor, if you have one, to keep your social distance, to slow the spread of this virus. This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and every aspect of this campaign. Most of all my heart goes out to all of those who have lost a loved one, to those who have contracted the virus, to all the brave Americans who are working harder than ever to help their neighbors, and all those children that are home from school that are worried and don’t know quite why. Doctors, nurses, E.M.T.s and public health officials, as well as the front line emergency workers like firefighters and dedicated folks working to keep the shelves stocked in the grocery stores. You know, tackling this pandemic is a national emergency akin to fighting a war. It’s going to require leadership and cooperation from every level of government. And it’s going to require us to move thoughtfully and decisively to quickly address both the public health crisis as well as the economic crisis. It’s going to require us to pay attention to the medical and scientific and health experts. And it’s going to require each of us to do our part. Yes, this is a moment where we need our leaders to lead. But it’s also a moment where the choices and decisions we make as individuals are going to collectively impact on what happens — make a big difference in the severity of this outbreak and the ability of our medical and hospital systems to handle it. You know, I know we, as a people, are up to this challenge. We always have been. I know that we’ll answer this moment of crisis with the best that we find in all of us, because that’s what Americans always have done, and what we do. That’s who we are. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things when the need arises. And today we are moving quickly to adapt our routines to meet this challenge. Americans in three states went to the polls today. I want to thank all the public officials and the poll workers, who work closely with the public health authorities to assure safe opportunities for voting, to clean and disinfect voting booths and to make sure the voters could cast their ballots while maintaining a distance from one another that was safe. You know, it’s important for us to get through this crisis, protecting both the public health and our democracy. Today it looks like, once again, in Florida and Illinois — we’re still awaiting to hear from Arizona — our campaign has had a very good night. We move closer to securing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. And we’re doing it by building a broad coalition that we need to win in November with strong support from the African-American community, the Latino community, high-school-educated people, like the folks I grew up with in my old neighborhood. Labor, teachers, suburban women, veterans, firefighters and so many more. And we’re doing it with a common vision. Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision for the need to provide affordable health care for all Americans, reduce income inequity that has risen so drastically, to tackling the existential threat of our time, climate change. Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought a remarkable passion and tenacity to all of these issues. Together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country. So let me say especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president, is to unify this party and then to unify the nation. You know, it’s in moments like these, we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans. The coronavirus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender or your ZIP code. It will touch people in positions of power, as well as the most vulnerable people in our society. We’re all in this together. This is a moment for each of us to see and believe the best in every one of us, to look out for our neighbor, to understand the fear and stress that so many are feeling, to care for the elderly — the elderly couple down the street — to thank the health care worker, the doctors, the nurses, the pharmacists, the grocery store cashier and the people restocking the shelves, to believe in one another, because I assure you when we do that, when we see the best in each of us, we lift this nation up and we’ll get through this together. That’s how we’ve always done it. God bless you all and my special prayer for those of you in the frontlines of the crisis — doctors, nurses, health care workers caring for the virus victims and their families. My prayers are going out for everyone. My hopes are high, because I believe in times of crisis, Americans have always stepped up. We have to step up and care for one another. Thank you all. Thank you all for listening.

5:41‘We’re All in This Together,’ Biden Says
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. addressed his supporters after the latest round of primary elections.CreditCredit...Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Mr. Biden made an explicit appeal to supporters of Mr. Sanders in a brief live-streamed address from his home in Wilmington, Del., in which he also spoke of the need for Americans to do their part in fighting the coronavirus.

“Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision,” Mr. Biden said, citing health care, income inequality and climate change. He continued, “Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought a remarkable passion and tenacity to all of these issues, and together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country.”

His remarks were evidence of the delicate balancing act in which Mr. Biden is engaging: signaling to Sanders supporters that he respects them and wants their backing, without pressuring Mr. Sanders himself to leave the race. One of Mr. Biden’s most significant political weaknesses is with younger voters, and he spoke directly to them on Tuesday.

“So let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president, is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.”

Mr. Biden appeared after notching victories in Tuesday’s two largest delegate prizes, Florida and Illinois. After first speaking about the coronavirus, striking a somber note, he addressed the day’s primaries. Citing those two states, he said his campaign had “a very good night.”


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“We’ve moved closer to securing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president,” he said, “and we’re doing it by building a broad coalition that we need to win in November.”

Two of the three states voting on Tuesday have now exceeded turnout levels seen in the 2016 Democratic primary, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Florida had surpassed its 2016 turnout by more than 10,000 votes. In Arizona, turnout was also expected to easily top 2016 levels.

Both states had invested heavily in early voting systems, and they encouraged early voting and voting by mail as the outbreak worsened, in order to help reduce crowds at polling places on Primary Day.

In Florida, roughly 140,000 more Democrats voted by mail than in 2016, and nearly 75,000 more voted early. While some counties, including Palm Beach, had to relocate polling centers amid a poll worker shortage, turnout in Florida was lifted by the roughly 1.1 million people who voted early.

In Arizona, more than 380,000 people voted before polls opened on Tuesday, just 29,000 fewer voters than the total turnout for 2016. The state also offered curbside ballot drop-off for voters on Tuesday for those who didn’t want to come into a polling location.


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Credit...Kamil Krzaczynski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Biden won the primary in Illinois, the second-largest delegate prize among Tuesday’s contests. With the victory, he continued to pad his sizable delegate lead over Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Sanders narrowly lost the state in 2016 to Mrs. Clinton, but he appeared to be at a significant disadvantage heading into this year’s contest.

As in Florida, black voters make up a significant portion of the Democratic primary electorate in Illinois. Strong support from black voters in South Carolina and a number of other Southern states was crucial to Mr. Biden’s resurgence in the primary. Mr. Biden has also performed well among white voters in recent contests.

Mr. Biden had widespread support among Democratic elected officials in the state. His backers included Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who endorsed him on Monday; Senators Richard J. Durbin and Tammy Duckworth; and Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago.

Mr. Biden had planned to hold a campaign event in Chicago last week, but it was called off because of the coronavirus. Instead, Mr. Biden held a “virtual town hall” for Illinois voters, but his first attempt at virtual campaigning was marred by technical problems.

Credit...Alicia Vera for The New York Times

Mr. Biden easily won the Florida primary, racking up an early — and expected — victory in the Sunshine State.


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In 2016, Mr. Sanders captured just nine counties in the state, largely the kind of rural white areas he’s been struggling to hold against Mr. Biden this campaign. He has failed to win large numbers of black voters, who made up more than a quarter of the Democratic primary electorate four years ago.

In Florida, Mr. Sanders’s refusal to retract his praise of Fidel Castro and aspects of the Communist Cuban revolution drew ire not just from Cubans but also from a far more diverse group of Latinos, including Colombians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. And though Mr. Sanders would be the first Jewish president, his comments about Israel turned off many Jewish voters, according to polling.

Florida was always going to be a good state for Mr. Biden. A.P. VoteCast, a voter survey conducted in the days leading up to the primary for The Associated Press, found that 25 percent of Florida’s Democratic electorate is African-American and 70 percent is 45 or older, two demographics that have voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden.

Much of Mr. Biden’s win most likely stems from the perception among Democratic voters in Florida that he was the stronger candidate to beat Mr. Trump and would fare the best in a national emergency, like the coronavirus. More than seven in 10 voters surveyed by A.P. VoteCast said that they saw Mr. Biden as the most electable and that they trusted him the most to handle a major crisis.

Neither candidate campaigned in the state: Rallies for Mr. Biden in Tampa and Miami were canceled because of fears about the spread of the coronavirus. Most of the candidates’ political activity was left to television ads, volunteers and campaign surrogates.

Supporters of the candidate who spent the most time in the state — former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City — most likely went to Mr. Biden.


‘Workers Need to Continue to Get a Paycheck,’ Sanders Says

Senator Bernie Sanders called for the emergency monthly cash payments as he delivered an address on the coronavirus epidemic.

Our country and, in fact, the world are facing an unprecedented series of crises. We’re dealing with the coronavirus, which is spreading throughout this country and throughout the world. We’re dealing with a growing economic meltdown, which will impact tens of millions of workers in this country. We’re dealing with a political crisis as well. What happens to all the people who lose their jobs? What happens to people who tonight are worried that they may have the coronavirus, but don’t have the resources to get the tests they need or the treatment that they need? So this is a moment that we have got to be working together and going forward together. Most important point is workers need to continue to get a paycheck even when their businesses are shut down. Further, we need to provide a direct emergency $2,000 cash payment to every household in America every month for the duration of the crisis to provide them with the assistance they need to pay their bills and take care of their families.

1:09‘Workers Need to Continue to Get a Paycheck,’ Sanders Says
Senator Bernie Sanders called for the emergency monthly cash payments as he delivered an address on the coronavirus epidemic.CreditCredit...Jacob Hannah for The New York Times


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Mr. Sanders addressed the escalating coronavirus crisis on Tuesday night, calling it an “unprecedented moment” and laying out an extensive list of policy proposals to deal with the emergency that he said he would work with Democratic leadership to carry out. He estimated that combating the crisis would require at least $2 trillion in funding.

Among the plans he put forth were activating the armed forces to build mobile hospitals and testing facilities, as well as having the government provide a “direct emergency $2,000 cash payment to every household in America.” He also proposed a moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs, and providing emergency unemployment assistance to anyone who loses their job.

And he again used this moment to call for his signature policy proposal, “Medicare for all.” In the meantime, he called for Medicare to cover all medical bills during the coronavirus crisis.

“What I believe we must do is empower Medicare to cover all medical bills during this emergency,” he said. But he also stressed that “this is not Medicare for all. We can’t pass that right now.”

Mr. Sanders has publicly addressed the coronavirus several times in the last week, and his remarks on Tuesday largely reflected his previous comments.

During his speech, which he delivered before many polls closed, he did not address the election. Neither CNN nor MSNBC showed his remarks live.

A closely watched Democratic congressional primary ended in an upset on Tuesday, when Marie Newman beat Representative Daniel Lipinski, a conservative Democrat and an eight-term incumbent. It was a second try for Ms. Newman, who lost to Mr. Lipinski by just 2,000 votes in 2018. She is a progressive who was backed by the Justice Democrats and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.


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The primary was an important test of whether a Democrat like Mr. Lipinski, who opposes abortion and voted against the Affordable Care Act, was still welcome in the party — and conversely, whether a candidate from the party’s progressive wing could win in a district that, while solidly Democratic, leans more conservative on social issues.

Ms. Newman, a business consultant and founder of an anti-bullying program, had drawn support even from some veteran rank-and-file Democrats, in a sign of how much of an outlier Mr. Lipinsky was in the party.

“This is a critical victory for the progressive movement in showing that voters are ready for a new generation of progressive leadership in the Democratic Party,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats. “This isn’t just a loss for one incumbent. It’s a defeat for machine politics and big corporate donors who want to stop our movement for ‘Medicare for all,’ a Green New Deal and reproductive rights.”

Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump achieved the inevitable on Tuesday night: After winning 122 delegates in Florida, he officially racked up enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican nominee for president. A candidate needs 1,276 delegates to win the nomination, and Mr. Trump on Tuesday night had 1,330 delegates.

Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, said in a statement that Mr. Trump’s victory showed a unified Republican Party. He credited it to “his response to the coronavirus” and a “broad and strong economy,” even as markets plunged and a global recession appeared inevitable.

Mr. Trump has barely had a contest in the Republican primary. A onetime field of three challengers had already winnowed down to one left standing, William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, who has failed to make a dent in Mr. Trump’s support among Republican voters.


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Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Three primary elections were held on Tuesday — and yet there were no rallies to trumpet victories or spin losses.

Presidential politics in the coronavirus era has left Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders in a new reality. They’re running for president, but without the running.

There are no get-out-the-vote efforts, no rallies, no commercials, no fund-raising events and, for the foreseeable future, nowhere for them to go.

Ohio was supposed to have a primary, but the governor ordered precincts closed. Louisiana, Kentucky and Maryland have moved primaries planned for the coming weeks back to June in hopes the pandemic subsides by then. Democratic National Committee officials insist the party’s convention will take place as planned in Milwaukee in July, but the truth is nobody really knows what the world will look like in four days, let alone in four months.

If Tuesday night’s contests were unfolding under normal circumstances, the campaigns and the political press would be decamping for Georgia, which was supposed to be the only state with a primary next week.

But Georgia officials on Saturday moved their state’s primary to May 19. There will be no campaigning in the Atlanta suburbs, no tracking TV spending by the campaigns. No more counting the delegates Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders need to accumulate to clinch the presidential nomination.


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On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee’s chairman, Tom Perez, urged the states remaining on the election calendar to conduct contests solely through vote by mail, “instead of moving primaries to later in the cycle when timing around the virus remains unpredictable.”

We’re all left waiting and wondering the same thing: What comes next?

Mr. Biden now has Secret Service protection, the organization said on Tuesday, a development that comes as he has achieved front-runner status in the Democratic primary, and after several security incidents occurred at campaign events.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that we have initiated full protective coverage for Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden,” a representative for the Secret Service said.

On a number of occasions, voters or activists have come physically close to Mr. Biden or his family, including on Super Tuesday, when animal rights activists moved toward him and his wife as he spoke, and several young campaign staff members physically interceded.

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