Despite the strong network of grassroots supporters for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Idaho, Idaho voters followed in the footsteps of most other primary states on Tuesday.
Unofficial election results statewide showed former Vice President Joe Biden winning 48.8% of the vote as of 11 p.m. Sanders had 42.5%.
Biden also led in Kootenai County, taking 54.1% of the vote with 58 of 73 precincts counted. Sanders had 34.5%.
Nationwide, Biden won Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri, and Sanders was doing well in North Dakota.
The candidates were nearly tied in Washington.
In 2016, Sanders dominated caucuses, winning more than 70% of the vote in Idaho’s caucus. This year, Idaho Democrats were one of several state parties to switch from a caucus to a primary.
Kootenai County Democrats Chair Laura Tenneson said she was glad the party switched to a primary, especially after issues and delays in counting tallies in this year’s caucus in Iowa. Tuesday morning, a group of other Democrats, including Tenneson, held a rally in Coeur d’Alene, holding up signs letting people know they could register the day of the election and still participate.
Mary Lou Reed, a former state senator and avid Biden supporter from Coeur d’Alene, said she would support Sanders if he wins the nomination, but said she believes Biden is the candidate who will appeal to the whole country.
“He’s just a people person, smart, very kind and empathetic,” she said. “He’s a team player, which is a big contrast to Bernie Sanders.”
Reed, whose son Bruce Reed was Biden’s former chief of staff in the White House, said she’s trying to stay positive because the most important thing to her is beating Donald Trump and unifying the country, regardless of who is on the Democratic ticket.
Kootenai County resident Cory Alexander, a volunteer organizer for the Sanders campaign, said she is still strongly behind Sanders but would support Biden if he was the nominee. She said Biden likely will need to reconsider his positions on Medicare for all or student debt to win over Sanders’ younger supporters.
“They are going to need to make some real changes if they want to win Bernie votes,” she said.
Reed said she was encouraged by Biden’s strong showing but also hopes Biden’s campaign and the Democratic party will include Sanders’ supporters’ concerns going forward.
“It’s a time to consider and appreciate everyone’s point of view,” she said.
Trump, the only well-known Republican running for his party’s nomination, won about 94% of the vote Tuesday.
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld was the only other Republican to win more than 2% of the total votes counted, with about 2,115. Trump won 91,916.
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