Joe Biden sweeps Tuesday’s primary states


Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden speak to supporters Feb. 3 in Des Moines after the Iowa Democratic caucuses. 

Eli Harris

Joe Biden came out of Tuesday night’s primaries as the clear victor, boosting his standing as the frontrunner in the Democratic field. 

Of the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, Biden won all three and increased his delegate lead over opponent Bernie Sanders. A fourth primary was scheduled in Ohio but was postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Florida, with 94.4 percent of precincts reporting, Biden won 61.7 percent of the vote statewide. Sanders was second with 22.8 percent.

Biden was met favorably by several types of constituents including non-white and white voters as well as those with and without college degrees, according to county analysis by Politico.

Results were similar but slightly closer in Illinois. With 84.3 percent of precincts reporting, Biden won 59.1 percent of the vote, trailed by Sanders at 36.2. Biden again won by a large margin in counties with and without non-white populations. The same was true with respect to college degrees.

The Arizona race was the closest of the evening with Biden winning 42.9 percent of the statewide vote and Sanders winning 29.6 percent with 67 percent of precincts reporting.

Mack Shelley, Iowa State professor and chair of the political science department, said Tuesday’s results gave clarity to the Democratic race. 

“It seemed to make it borderline inevitable now for Biden to be the nominee,” Shelley said.

If Sanders is to attempt to still win the primary, Shelley said he must win many of the remaining states in the primary but he said he thought Biden may not even need so-called “super delegates” to win the nomination.

Biden called for party unity in order to win the presidency and for issues including the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in his victory speech. 

In the Republican primary, President Donald Trump won in Florida with 93.8 percent of the vote and in Illinois with 96.2 percent. In Florida, over 1.1 million voters turned out for the incumbent candidate, something Shelley said he believes could be impactful.

“It indicates that there is a very enthusiastic base of support for President Trump,” Shelley said. “The Democrats really have to worry about that.”