Los Angeles Times - 04.03.2020

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California, the marquee
prize of the 14-state voting
bonanza of Super Tuesday,
has sided with Sen. Bernie
Sanders, according to Asso-
ciated Press projections.
Sanders was leading in
early returns Tuesday night,
but the question remains
how much of the state’s
trove of 415 delegates his
competitors will claim. For-
mer Vice President Joe Bid-
en seems likely to have
enough support to claim a
significant number of dele-
gates, and former New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloom-
berg may as well. But the fi-
nal delegate numbers will
remain unsettled for days, if
not weeks, as state officials
count millions of provisional
and late-arriving mail-in
ballots and calculate the
state’s complex delegate
The projection of Sand-
ers’ win came immediately
as the polls closed at 8 p.m.,
even as many voters re-
mained in line, with wide-
spread complaints of long
waits at polling places. The
AP based its call on its exit
polls, which found that
Sanders had enough of a
lead, particularly among
votes that were mailed in
early, to prevent Biden and
Bloomberg from catching
up. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
was lagging behind in fourth
place in early returns but
may still be in position to
claim some delegates.
More than 4 million bal-
lots were cast before Tues-
day. As the later results roll
in, they may contain good
news for Biden, whose cam-
paign has been infused with
a fresh burst of energy in re-
cent days. Late deciders in
California sided with the
Biden by a 10-point margin
over Sanders, according to a
separate exit poll conducted
for the major television net-
Sanders, the Vermont
senator, addressing a home
state crowd about an hour
before the California polls
closed, pinned his hopes for
the night in part on a strong
showing in the Golden
“I’m cautiously opti-
mistic that later in the eve-
ning, we can win the largest
state in this country, the
state of California,” Sanders
Like elsewhere in the
country, the presidential
race in California has been
volatile, with at least four
contenders leading polls in

the state at different points
over the last seven months.
Recent polling showed
Sanders pulling away, point-
ing to a romp that had the
potential to box out his com-
petitors from scoring signifi-
cant delegates.
But Biden’s victory Sat-
urday in South Carolina and
the burst of endorsements
that came after it boosted
his chances here as in other
states. How big a boost that
turns out to be will remain
unclear until the final vote
tabulation. State officials
have until April 2 to com-
plete their canvass.
For Sanders, winning in
California carries extra sym-
bolic heft. He lost the state’s
2016 primary to Hillary Clin-
ton by 7 percentage points,
one day after the Associated
Press had reported that
Clinton had secured enough
delegate support to clinch
the nomination.

This time, with Califor-
nia’s primary moved from
June to March and a com-
mitted bastion of support-
ers lending Sanders an or-
ganizing head start, the
state factored significantly
into his campaign blueprint.
His strategists lumped Cali-
fornia into the “first five” of
crucial states — along with
traditional early nominat-
ing states of Iowa, New
Hampshire, Nevada and
South Carolina — and built
an extensive field operation
with 105 paid staffers.
Sanders himself made
frequent visits to the state,
hosting rallies not just in the
population hubs of Los An-
geles and the San Francisco
Bay Area, but also in often
overlooked cities in the Cen-
tral Valley.
His success hinged on
building on his core support
among young and very libe-
ral voters with a concerted

outreach to the state’s large
Latino population. Sanders
won 55% of that consequen-
tial bloc, according to the
network exit poll.
“He sees us as human be-
ings,” said Mildred Dimas, a
30-year-old Boyle Heights
resident and daughter of
Mexican immigrants. “He
empathizes with our immi-
grant story.”
Biden was boosted by a
strong showing among older
voters, moderates and Afri-
can Americans, according to
exit polls.
“The momentum has
changed in his favor,” said
Jose Marroquin, a 67-year-
old retiree from Los Angeles
who had decided he was
supporting Biden as soon as
he entered the race. “I am
actually thinking that the
tide has turned.”
Driven by the state’s
yearning for political
relevance, California offi-
cials moved the state’s pri-
mary to early March, up
from June in the previous
two elections, in hopes the
results would shape the con-
tours of the presidential
Although the state still
got far less attention than
the candidates lavished on
Iowa and New Hampshire,
Californians did get more
opportunities to glimpse the
candidates at rallies and
other in-person events.
The race was even more
heated on the airwaves, with
more than $120 million
worth of television advertis-
ing blanketing the state
since early 2019. Well over
half of that came from one

candidate, Bloomberg, who
blitzed California with ad-
vertising immediately upon
entering the race in Novem-
Democratic political fig-
ures were quick to declare
the early primary a success.
“It absolutely had the de-
sired impact.... Candidates
set up significant opera-
tions across the state during
the primary, poured re-
sources into communicat-
ing with Democratic voters
and courted Democrats by
focusing on important Cali-
fornia issues,” said Rusty
Hicks, chairman of the Cali-
fornia Democratic Party.
Paul Mitchell, a political
data specialist, said the re-
cent swell of support for Bid-
en among moderate party
figures, including erstwhile
rivals — former South Bend,
Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg,
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Min-
nesota and former Rep.
Beto O’Rourke of Texas —
was driven by the high
stakes and a desire to deny
Sanders a glide path to the
“The amazing events of
the last 24 hours wouldn’t
have happened if you didn’t
have one-fifth of all the dele-
gates you need to win the
nomination being served up
on Super Tuesday,” Mitchell
said. “These events are hap-
pening because California
moved its primary ahead.”
With the politicking
drawing to a close, the focus
now turns to counting — a
notoriously protracted pro-
cess in California, thanks to
the popularity of mail-in bal-
lots, which count as long as

they’re postmarked by elec-
tion day, and the availability
of same-day registration,
which leads to a large num-
ber of provisional ballots.
There are effectively 54
primaries going on in
California; one based on
the statewide vote total,
which will divvy up 144 dele-
gates, and 53 races in indi-
vidual congressional dis-
tricts, which together ac-
count for 271. In each con-
test, delegates are awarded
proportionately among the
candidates who get at least
15% of the vote.
“You’ll see a lot of move-
ment in those delegate num-
bers over the course of the
next few weeks once all
the votes come in,” said
Roger Salazar, spokesman
for the state Democratic
Party. “Our perspective is
we’d rather have an accurate
count than a fast count.”
Some savvy voters took
the state’s prolonged tally-
ing procedures into account
when choosing how to vote.
Lisa Marie Desai, a 37-year-
old stenographer from Cul-
ver City, opted to drop off
her mail-in ballot at her local
voting center to ensure that
her vote for Warren is
counted sooner rather than
“I could’ve put my thing
in the mail today and it
would’ve been postmarked,”
Desai said. “But I wanted to
be a part of the data for to-
day. I wanted to be part of
the election day results.”

Times staff writers Melissa
Gomez and Matt Pearce
contributed to this report.

DEMOCRATICpresidential candidate Bernie Sanders, center foreground, greets supporters in Santa Ana on Feb. 21. Sanders made frequent visits to California.

Allen J. SchabenLos Angeles Times

Sanders projected to win California

Vermont senator leads

in early returns for

Super Tuesday’s main

prize, but rivals may

claim delegates too.

By Melanie Mason

PEOPLEuse new voting machines at Wilshire Park Elementary on Tuesday. The final delegate numbers will remain unsettled for days if
not weeks as state officials count millions of provisional and late-arriving mail-in ballots and calculate the state’s complex delegate math.

Al SeibLos Angeles Times

California primary results

Bernie Sanders led Tuesday's Democratic primary,
ahead of Joe Biden and the rest of the field.

Percentage of vote

Sanders 31.2%

Biden 22.3%

Bloomberg 16.1%

Warren 12.2%

Results at 12:30 a.m. with 48% of precincts reporting
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder
Los Angeles Times


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