Billionaire Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday morning after disappointing results on Super Tuesday. Instead of continuing to challenge Joe Biden, he's throwing his support behind the former vice president as key Democrats work to boost Biden's chances of beating socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The news comes after Biden surged to victory across the South on Super Tuesday as voters across 14 states voted in the biggest 2020 campaign event to date with more than 1,300 Democratic delegates at stake.
Biden opened the evening with a trio of victories in key Southern states, building on the momentum that has swiftly revived his Democratic presidential campaign in recent days. His big wins give him momentum and front-runner status for the Democratic nomination.
Biden snagged the second-biggest state, winning Texas as the votes trickled in overnight. And overall, Biden won far more states than his top rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, taking Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and the battleground states of North Carolina and Virginia. The wins in some heavily African American southern states came after the former vice president’s victory in last weekend’s South Carolina primary.
Still, Sanders was also a big winner on Tuesday. He grabbed a win in home-state Vermont, Colorado, Utah, and California – the night's biggest prize with its 415 delegates.
The delegate tally isn't clear yet because the Democrats don't have a winner-take-all system. But Biden is now leading in the delegate count and feeling confident after his strong showing. "We were told, well, when you get to Super Tuesday it'd be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy," Biden said.
But Sanders shows no signs of discouragement. "I tell you with absolute confidence, we're going to win the Democratic nomination."
What About Elizabeth Warren?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn't even win her home state of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday. Even though it was a tight-race, Biden edged out Warren and Sanders to claim victory. So it's unclear how long Warren will remain in the race.
Virginia was an especially key battle to watch because Sanders and billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg heavily contested it over the past week.
As we've seen over the past few years, Virginia has begun to turn bluer mainly because of the Democrats' strength in urban areas and the northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, DC. Virginia also had an open primary, meaning any registered voter can vote regardless of their party registration.
With Biden winning the Virginia primary, and every other state that Bloomberg contested with roughly half a billion dollars in advertising, Bloomberg has now decided to drop out. Bloomberg's only victory was in the American territory of Samoa.
The most delegate-rich states on Super Tuesday were California, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia which add up to more than 850 delegates alone. After Tuesday's vote totals, nearly 40 percent of the total delegates will be awarded to the winners.
Tuesday also marked the first major election security test since the 2018 midterm elections. State and local officials said they were prepared to deal with everything from equipment problems to false information about the coronavirus. And unlike the Iowa caucuses, which were run by state parties, state and local election officials administered Tuesday's elections in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.
A candidate needs 1,991 votes from the respective delegates to secure the Democratic Party nomination.
Democrats will gather in Milwaukee this July for their convention.