Tuesday is the most important day in the 2020 presidential race so far.
With 1,357 pledged delegates — 34 percent of the nationwide total — up for grabs on what’s known as Super Tuesday, the results of these contests will set the course for the rest of the presidential nominating calendar and could make or break several candidates’ campaigns.
Fourteen states are set to vote on Super Tuesday, along with American Samoa and Democrats abroad.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., remains the apparent front-runner for the Democratic nomination thanks to strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire before he ran the tables on the rest of the field in Nevada. He leads all candidates in pledged delegates so far, and is rallying big crowds in delegate-rich states like California.
But former Vice President Joe Biden is coming off his own blowout victory in South Carolina — where he not only won, but significantly outperformed expectations. He has been almost exclusively focused on South Carolina, however, and doesn’t have the resources of Sanders’ or billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s campaigns. He will have to hope that momentum from his Palmetto State win is enough to overcome his opponents’ Super Tuesday head starts.
Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who’s spent over $400 million on his presidential campaign, will be on the ballot for the first time Tuesday. He skipped the campaign’s early contests to blanket the airwaves of Super Tuesday states with commercials and flood them with campaign staffers. He’s risen in the polls to become a legitimate contender, but Tuesday he will see if his unorthodox but well-financed strategy turns into actual votes.
And a last-minute curveball will test the theory that there are two “lanes” in this primary race — one for moderates and one for progressives. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race Sunday despite having the third-most delegates in the field. If the “lanes” theory is true, Biden and Bloomberg and even Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar could perform better than polls have indicated by scooping up his supporters.
Meanwhile, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Klobuchar are fighting for their campaigns’ lives and will need a performance significantly above current expectations to have a path forward after Super Tuesday. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii still barely registers in the polls and is seeking her first delegates of the primary season.
There are 52 pledged delegates available in Alabama’s deep-South primary contest. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala. both supported Biden, giving the moderate backing from an endangered senator and an important black lawmaker in a state with a large African-American population. Read more about the race here.
The home state of former Democratic President Bill Clinton has 31 pledged delegates to offer on Tuesday. It went for Hillary Clinton over Sanders–66 percent to 30 percent–in the 2016 primary. Read more about the race here.
The Golden State’s 415 available delegates are by far the largest haul of the primary race. Sanders, who is leading in the polls there, is seeking to run up the score in California to give himself as large a delegate lead coming out of Super Tuesday as possible. Read more about the race here.
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This purple state, which has become increasingly blue in recent years, has 67 pledged delegates to dole out on Tuesday. Coloradans saw one of their senators and a former governor run for the Democratic presidential nomination before dropping out. Read more about the race here.
With two high profile politicians from neighboring states on the ballot, Maine’s 24 pledged delegates could play an important role in the fight for the progressive wing of the Democratic party between Warren and Sanders. Read more about the race here.
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Sanders has campaigned in Massachusetts, which has 91 delegates to offer, in hopes of delivering a knockout blow to Warren’s campaign in her home state. Read more about the race here.
Klobuchar has spent more time campaigning in her home state than any other candidate and is unlikely to have a path forward after Super Tuesday unless she gets a significant portion of Minnesota’s 75 pledged delegates. Read more about the race here.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden had a great showing in this state’s neighbor to the South. He has dispatched House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., whose endorsement played a major role in the South Carolina result, to stump for him in North Carolina as well, where 110 pledged delegates are up for grabs. Read more about the race here.
Oklahoma, Warren’s birthplace, has 37 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. Read more about the race here.
Tennessee’s 64 available pledged delegates are being targeted by Bloomberg and Klobuchar. The billionaire has spent four days campaigning there — the most of any candidate — while Klobuchar has campaigned in Tennessee on three separate days. Read more about the race here.
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A prized target not just for its 228 available delegates but its burgeoning swing state status, the results from Texas could be even more important than what happens in California. Read more about the race here.
With just 29 available delegates, Utah has not attracted much attention from Democratic presidential candidates. But Bloomberg, who will be competing to make the viability threshold in several states, will look to cash in on an endorsement from Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who is the state’s only Democratic federal representative. Read more about the race here.
Though there has not been much polling, Sanders is expected to dominate his home state, which has 16 delegates. Read more about the race here.
Virginia’s 99 pledged delegates make it the fourth-biggest Super Tuesday prize. Biden will hope his endorsement last week from Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., can give him a boost there like Clyburn’s backing did in South Carolina. Read more about the race here.
American Samoa and Democrats Abroad
Citizens of the U.S. territory American Samoa, an island chain in the Pacific Ocean, do not get to vote in the presidential general election. But Republicans and Democrats each offer convention delegates to the territory’s voters, who are technically American citizens. Democrats in American Samoa will assign their six pledged delegates in caucuses held Super Tuesday.
U.S. citizens living overseas are also given a chance to play a role in the Democratic presidential primary. They will assign 13 convention delegates in a primary that begins Super Tuesday and ends March 10.