Former Vice President Joe Biden captured the majority of Oklahoma’s 37 pledged Democratic presidential delegates on Super Tuesday, when 14 states held their primary elections. Oklahoma’s delegates to the July Democratic National Convention are determined by state party rules that consider statewide and congressional district results.
Finishing with about 38 percent of the vote at the time of this post, the former U.S. vice president led unofficial Oklahoma State Election Board totals throughout the night. He was closely followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who came in second with about 25 percent of the vote. The Associated Press called Oklahoma for Biden at 8:05 p.m.
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Biden’s wife, Jill, was in Oklahoma on Tuesday rallying supporters at VZD’s bar and restaurant and at This Iz It in northeast Oklahoma City.
Biden has not personally visited Oklahoma this election cycle, while Sanders made a trip to Norman in late September.
Biden and Sanders battle across the country
Even before voting started, Super Tuesday seemed set to be a fight primarily between Sanders, on the left wing of the party, and Biden, a more moderate candidate. Sanders had strong showings in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries earlier this year and led delegate totals going into Super Tuesday. Biden, after lackluster performance in the earliest primaries, had a strong victory in South Carolina last week.
Besides Biden and Sanders, only three other contenders officially remained in the race by Super Tuesday — former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). That was down from a total of 28 earlier in the election cycle.
In Oklahoma’s Democratic presidential primary, Bloomberg finished third with about 14 percent of the vote while Warren trailed him by less than 2,000 votes at the time of this post.
In recent days, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) suspended their campaigns and endorsed Biden, helping him consolidate the party’s moderate vote. In addition to Oklahoma, Biden had won Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Minnesota at the time of this post’s publication. Sanders had been declared victorious in Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont. Results were not yet final from Maine, Texas and California.
Speaking to supporters in Vermont, Sanders was optimistic about his chances.
“Tonight, with absolute confidence, we are going to win the Democratic nomination,” he said. “We are going to defeat the most dangerous president of this country.”
Biden spoke after Sanders from Minnesota and was briefly interrupted by hecklers.
“They don’t call it super Tuesday for nothing,” Biden said. “Things are looking awful, awful good.”
Former Democratic State Rep. Scott Inman has been one of Biden’s leading supporters in Oklahoma, and he released a statement after the former vice president’s victory.
“Tonight’s overwhelming victory in Oklahoma and around the nation for Joe Biden proves that he’s the one candidate who can unite all factions of the Democratic Party, from all parts of the country, and appeal to the independents and moderate republicans necessary to bring this country together to restore America’s reputation and solve the majors issues facing our great nation,” Inman said.
President Donald Trump easily won Oklahoma’s Republican primary, and he tweeted about his victory just 30 minutes after the polls closed.
In total, Oklahoma’s turnout for Super Tuesday 2020 was fairly even between those voting in the heavily contested Democratic primary (303,977) and the uncompetitive Republican primary (295,409). According to unofficial results, 31,866 fewer Oklahomans voted in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary than did in the party’s 2016 primary contest.