Early Biden Wins In Delegate-Rich VA and NC Show Strength Of Southern Base

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 03: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden walks to his car after visiting the Buttercup diner on March 03, 2020 in Oakland, California. Biden's Super Tuesday el... OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 03: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden walks to his car after visiting the Buttercup diner on March 03, 2020 in Oakland, California. Biden's Super Tuesday election night gathering will be held in Los Angeles. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 3, 2020 8:16 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was quickly declared the winner of the two of the most delegate-rich states voting on Super Tuesday, Virginia and North Carolina. Both victories showed the strength of his candidacy in the South and the strength he’d gained from a great week.

The two wins for Biden, some of the earliest states announced out of the 15 “Super Tuesday” territories to vote, in large part echo his landslide victory in South Carolina. In each contest, a large part of the African American voter base backed Biden in addition to the vast majority of older voters, who turned out stronger than their younger, Sanders-supporting counterparts.

When polls closed at 7 p.m. in Virginia, exit surveys immediately indicated the former vice president had won by a lot. Biden looked likely to pick up a healthy plurality of North Carolina’s 110 delegates once the exit polling data was released a half hour later.

“Not only is Biden doing really well in Northern Virginia, he’s doing really well all over the state,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the newsletter from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told TPM.

“Really, the only places that Sanders seems to be carrying are some of the college towns.”

In addition to a string of endorsements from candidates who’d dropped out of the race — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) all endorsed Biden Monday — Biden scored a tone-setting victory in South Carolina Saturday.

“Virginia has those similar demographics to South Carolina, you have a lot of black voters, but you also have a lot of higher-income suburban voters, and those are the type of votes who really went hard for Biden in South Carolina,” Sean McElwee, executive director of the progressive think tank Data for Progress, told TPM ahead of Tuesday’s results.

Biden carried a range of different demographics in Virginia, aside from Sanders’ core constituency of younger voters. Kondik noted that the former vice president carried white voters without college degrees, which he didn’t manage to do in South Carolina.

“That probably tells us something good for Biden about some of the other southern states that are not as upscale and not as diverse as Virginia is — Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma,” Kondik said. “The night’s off to a real good start for Biden.”

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