Joe Biden extends lead over Bernie Sanders in nomination race with Tuesday wins


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

Kylee Haueter

Voters in six different states went to the polls Tuesday to vote for their favored Democratic presidential candidate.

Across the states of Washington, Michigan, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi and North Dakota, 352 delegates were available.

Michigan had the most delegates up for grabs with 125 delegates set to be awarded. Washington gave out the second most amount of delegates, awarding a total of 89.

Going into Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden had a comfortable lead after a successful Super Tuesday with victories in 10 states. 

As of early Tuesday, Biden had 53.5 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters nationwide according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, while Sen. Bernie Sanders had 33.5 percent support.

The way the current primary system is set up, either candidate may win delegates whether they win the popular vote in a given state.

Dirk Deam, associate teaching professor of political science, said this will extend Biden’s lead and help his campaign grow. 

“The proportional rules by which Democrats award delegates mean that even in states where Sanders might win the largest number of votes, Biden will still add to his delegate count,” Deam said. “Michigan will tell us a lot. […]If Sanders doesn’t win big there, he’s in trouble.”

Sehba Faheem, senior in biological systems engineering and co-president of the College Democrats at Iowa State, also said prior to the primaries Tuesday she believes the former vice president’s lead will grow because he is a “safe bet.”

“I think Biden’s lead will definitely grow,” Faheem said. “People are overwhelmed by the idea of another four years of Trump and want someone who seems like a safe bet.”

Biden won Tuesday’s primaries in Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri, according to projections by the Associated Press.

Complete results from Michigan are not expected until a later date due to a backlog of absentee ballots that were not able to be opened until the day of the primary, but polling before the primary favored Biden and he led partial results on election night.

Biden and Sanders will compete on the debate stage in Phoenix on Sunday, the first head-to-head debate of the primary cycle and the first debate without a live audience due to concerns about coronavirus.