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Super Tuesday surprise? Klobuchar, Buttigieg both endorse Biden

Bernie Sanders (left) and Joe Biden - AP images

Bernie Sanders' campaign dismisses the moves.

Posted: Mar 2, 2020 7:19 PM

DALLAS (AP) — Rivals no more, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg united behind Joe Biden's presidential bid on Monday as the Democratic Party's moderate wing scrambled to boost the former vice president just hours before voting began across a series of high-stakes Super Tuesday states.

The urgency of the moment reflected deep concerns from the Democratic establishment that Bernie Sanders, a polarizing progressive, was positioned to seize a significant delegate lead when 14 states, one U.S. territory vote on Tuesday.

Klobuchar suspended her campaign and endorsed Biden just a day after Buttigieg announced his exit. Both Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who had been Biden's chief competition for their party's pool of more moderate voters over the last year, declared their public support for Biden on Monday evening at a rally in Dallas.

“I’m looking for a leader, I’m looking for a president, who will draw out what’s best in each of us,” Buttigieg said. “We have found that leader in vice president, soon-to-be president, Joe Biden.”

The sweeping shifts come at a key crossroads in Democrats' turbulent primary season as the party struggles to unify behind a clear message or messenger in its urgent quest to defeat President Donald Trump. Yet as a field that once featured more than two dozen candidates shrinks to just five, the choice for primary voters is becoming clearer.

On one side stands Biden, a 77-year-old lifelong politician who represents a pragmatic approach to governing that emphasizes bipartisanship and more modest change. On the other stands Sanders, a 78-year-old democratic socialist who has for decades demanded aggressive liberal shifts that seek to transform the nation's political and economic systems.

Yet the primary isn't yet a two-man race.

New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, in particular, could create problems for Biden's establishment appeal. The former New York City mayor, who will appear on a 2020 ballot for the first time on Tuesday, has invested more than a half billion dollars into his presidential bid and wracked up many high-profile endorsements of his own.

And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has struggled for delegates and momentum over the last month, has vowed to stay in the race until the party's national convention in July.

On the eve of Super Tuesday, however, Biden received a significant boost following his resounding victory over the weekend in South Carolina.

He posted his best two-day fundraising haul in more than a year, raising roughly $10 million over the last 48 hours. And the former vice president added to his considerable endorsement lead in recent days as elected officials began to coalesce more meaningfully behind him. He has long been the favorite of many elected officials even as he struggled through the first three primary contests of the year.

Biden's new backers feature a who's who of current and former Democratic officials across the nation: former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid; Obama national security adviser Susan Rice; Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly; former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall; former California Sen. Barbara Boxer; Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.; and Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif.

Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg, said he planned to endorse Biden and expected Buttigieg to as well.

"I do think it's the most logical," Beyer said of a Biden endorsement, given his echo of the former vice president's call for civility, a mantra of the Buttigieg campaign. “I think Joe is the next best possibility.”

Perhaps the most powerful endorsement would come from former President Barack Obama, who has a relationship with most of the candidates and has talked with several in recent weeks as primary voting has begun. He spoke with Biden to congratulate him after his South Carolina victory, but still has no plans to endorse in the primary at this point.

Sanders' team shrugged off Biden's success.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the candidates funded by big money and super PACs are coalescing behind Joe Biden, and that’s not a surprise," said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' senior strategist. "I think it’ll add a lot of clarity to this race.”

And while Biden's momentum is undeniable, not everyone in his party's moneyed establishment is convinced.

Some major donors preferred to wait until after Super Tuesday to decide whether to join the Biden movement. And even some of his more loyal fundraisers remain frustrated by disorganization within the campaign.

For example, the former vice president has struggled to raise money in Silicon Valley, where many wealthy donors prioritize organization and a data-driven plan. The inability of Biden’s team to demonstrate such competence pushed many donors toward his rivals, and others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We need to see what happens tomorrow, which is going to be very telling," said Alex Sink, a Democratic donor and former Florida gubernatorial candidate who endorsed Bloomberg.

And the former vice president's strategy for the coming days, which relies on media coverage and dispatching his new collection of surrogates, reflects a stark reality: Compared to Sanders and Bloomberg, Biden is understaffed, underfunded and almost out of time as he fights to transform his sole South Carolina victory into a national movement.

Biden announced he raised $18 million in February, compared to an eye-popping $46.5 million for Sanders and $29 million for Warren.

Sanders has struggled to win over his colleagues in Congress but earned a high-profile endorsement of his own on Monday from Democracy for America, a national grassroots organization originally led by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean that boasts thousands of members across the county.

“The overwhelming support for Bernie we saw in our member vote should be a wake-up call to the broken, visionless, corporate Democratic establishment," said the organization's chair Charles Chamberlain. “Americans want fundamental change in Washington, not a return to the status quo.”

Some Democrats also bemoaned the distinct lack of diversity in the shrinking field.

The National Organization for Women's political action committee endorsed Warren on Monday. The group's president, Toni Van Pelt, said she's alarmed about the lack of attention paid to the female candidates, who have often had to defend their “electability.”

“It's time to support a woman,” she said. “We want to make sure we're not looking at all these old white men again.”

Through four primary contests, the AP allocated 60 delegates to Sanders, 54 to Biden and eight to Warren. Buttigieg and Klobuchar have 26 and seven, respectively.

Candidates who drop out of the race keep the delegates they’ve won until each state party selects the actual people who will serve as those delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. At that point, delegates won based on statewide primary and caucus results are given to the remaining viable candidates. Delegates won based on results in congressional districts become free agents, who can support the candidate of his or her choice on the first ballot at the convention.

The first four states were always more about momentum more than math. Super Tuesday states offer a trove of 1,344 new delegates based on how candidates finish. Just 155 delegates have been awarded so far.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
Hubbard150238
Redwood141027
Houston139814
Dodge13864
Renville138040
Chippewa132332
Cottonwood128918
Fillmore12646
Wadena120218
Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
Faribault108816
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99318
Pipestone96423
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
Pope7465
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66016
Wilkin6349
Koochiching60310
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
Unassigned44568
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4147
Kittson37320
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
Ringgold44811
Audubon4218
Wayne41921
Adams2993
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