Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada have had their turn, and Tuesday, Oklahomans will get theirs when they go to polls in the Oklahoma Democratic presidential primary.
Oklahoma will be one of 13 states to hold primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3. More than 1,300 delegates will be up for grabs in those races, including 37 from Oklahoma.
While Bernie Sanders won Oklahoma’s 2016 primary handily over Hillary Clinton, he appears to be in a much tougher fight this time. A SoonerPoll released Monday found Joe Biden leading in Oklahoma with 21 percent of those surveyed. Michael Bloomberg is a close second with 19 while Sanders is third with 13 percent.
A poll released last week by Sooner Survey found Bloomberg leading Sanders by six points with Sanders and Biden at 14 and 12 percent.
Oklahoma native Elizabeth Warren was in single digits in both polls.
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While who wins the state’s primary may still be up for grabs, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairwoman Alicia Andrews said voters are engaged.
“The enthusiasm level is off the charts,” Andrews said. “The Edmond Democratic Women had more than 200 people for a forum last week. It was packed. Democrats are engaged and the race is still fluid when we vote which is something we haven’t seen in a while. It’s been a motivator.”
Andrews said candidate visits have also helped voters see their choices up close. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar drew a large crowd in Oklahoma City on Sunday, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is slated to visit Monday. Michael Bloomberg also visited Oklahoma this month. Andrews said it’s possible other candidates might drop in before Tuesday.
“It’s great for Democrats to see their candidates, which is something that really hasn’t happened a lot over recent primaries,” she said.
Andrews said removing President Donald Trump from office is perhaps the greatest incentive of all for Democrats to get out and vote. Independents are also allowed to vote in the Oklahoma Democratic presidential primary.
“President Trump has to go,” she said. “But Democrats here are also interested in health care and climate change. Those are two issues that impact our state, and the president doesn’t have a good track record with those.”
The following primers for 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates still in the race as of Feb. 27 are ordered alphabetically. Other candidates who filed for the Oklahoma primary before exiting the Democratic primary will also appear on the state’s March 3 ballots.
Home state: Delaware
Resume: Biden served most notably as President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. Prior to that, Biden served in the U.S. Senate from 1973-2009.
His case for the job: Biden has campaigned on his broad appeal, a return to normalcy and his years working alongside Obama. He favors beefing up the Affordable Care Act over a Medicare For All single-payer plan advocated by other candidates.
How it’s going: Biden struggled in the Iowa and New Hampshire contests finishing fourth and fifth. He rebounded in Nevada, finishing second and won Saturday’s South Carolina primary. A strong showing in some Super Tuesday races could continue Biden’s momentum.
Home state: New York
Resume: Bloomberg started Bloomberg LP in 1981. He has a current net worth of about $60 billion. He served as New York’s mayor from 2002-13 as a Republican and independent.
His case for the job: Bloomberg has run on his administrative leadership skills heading a Fortune 500 company, philanthropy and his role as New York’s mayor in the years following 9/11. He favors aggressive measures to curb carbon emissions, criminal justice reform and more efforts to control gun violence through background checks and an assault weapons ban.
How it’s going: Bloomberg hasn’t been on the ballot yet in the first three contests, but he will be playing in all the Super Tuesday states. He has spent more than $300 million so far on his bid for the White House, but several uneven debate performances have been problematic. He has also been dogged by his past support for “stop and frisk” policing while mayor, as well as nondisclosure agreements with women who sued him and his company.
(Suspended campaign on 3/1)
Home state: Indiana
Resume: Buttigieg served as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, from 2012-2020 and also as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve where he spent time in Afghanistan.
His case for the job: Buttigieg has run in the moderate lane of the primary. He favors a “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan that would incentivize private insurers to compete on price to bring costs down. If that fails, his plan would provide a “glide-path” to a Medicare for All plan. On climate issues, Buttigieg has called for zero net emissions on new cars by 2035.
How it’s going: Buttigieg became the first openly gay presidential candidate to win a caucus in Iowa. He finished second in New Hampshire and third in Nevada. He plans on visiting Oklahoma City Monday.
Update: Buttigieg announced on Sunday before Super Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.
Home state: Hawaii
Resume: Gabbard has served in the United States Army Reserve since 2003, earning the rank of major. She was elected to Congress from Hawaii’s 2nd District in 2013.
Her case for the job: Gabbard has campaigned on an anti-war, nonintervention foreign policy platform. Outside of that, her domestic policy views mirror many of her rivals. She supports a Medicare for All system.
How it’s going: Not well. Gabbard hasn’t made the debate stage in weeks and has been in low single digits in the polls and contests so far.
(Suspended her campaign on 3/2)
Home state: Minnesota
Resume: Klobuchar served as a county prosecutor in Minnesota before her election to the U.S. Senate in 2008.
Her case for the job: Klobuchar supports universal access to health care for all Americans by expanding Medicare and Medicaid through a public option. She also favors raising the minimum wage to $15 and increasing federal funding for teacher pay and K-12 funding.
How it’s going: With fifth-place finish in Iowa and Nevada and third-place finish in New Hampshire, Klobuchar is hoping for a solid Super Tuesday showing. She is one of the only candidates outside of Michael Bloomberg currently on the air with TV advertising in Oklahoma and made a visit to Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Update: Klobuchar announced on Monday before Super Tuesday that she is suspending her presidential campaign.
Home state: Vermont
Resume: Sanders served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and later the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-2007. He was elected to the Senate in 2006.
His case for the job: A self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” Sanders has campaigned on a platform he says will benefit average Americans including a broad Medicare for All plan, which would be paid for by increased taxes on millionaires, but would also come with increased taxes for the middle class. Sanders also favors free college tuition and debt forgiveness as a way to make education more accessible.
How it’s going: Sanders, the runner up in the 2016 Democratic primary, has become the party’s front runner in 2020. Sanders finished a razor-close second in Iowa and won New Hampshire and Nevada handily.
(Suspended his campaign on 2/29)
Home state: California
Resume: Steyer is a former investment fund manager with a $1.6 billion net worth. He launched a long-term national television campaign in 2017 calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Case for the job: Campaigning as an outsider, Steyer advocates strong measures to curb climate change. He supports a $15 minimum wage and a wealth tax along with tax reform for corporations he says would change the structure of the country’s economy.
How it’s going: Steyer has yet to place in the top five of any of the contests so far. He has polled well in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, which might be his best bet to pull an upset.
Update: Steyer announced he was dropping out of the race after finishing third in the South Carolina primary.
Home state: Massachusetts, by way of Oklahoma and Texas
Resume: Warren grew up in Norman and Oklahoma City, attending Northwest Classen High School. She later became an economics professor at Harvard. She won her Senate seat in 2012 and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2018.
Case for the job: Warren has campaigned on her involvement in her role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and making healthcare available for all Americans. Warren has also proposed new taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
How it’s going: Warren has yet to win a primary or caucus. She finished fourth in New Hampshire and Nevada, the two most recent contests.
(Correction: This article was updated to note the correct year Bernie Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate. NonDoc regrets the error. It was updated again at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 1, to reflect Steyer and Buttigieg announcing their departure from the race, and at 1 p.m., Monday, March 2, to reflect Klobuchar’s departure.)