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Biden takes lead over Sanders in Washington’s Democratic primary in second day of counting

UPDATED: Wed., March 11, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Vermont. On the second day of vote counting, Sanders took the lead in Spokane County over Joe Biden, but lost the lead statewide. (Charles Krupa / AP)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Vermont. On the second day of vote counting, Sanders took the lead in Spokane County over Joe Biden, but lost the lead statewide. (Charles Krupa / AP)

Bernie Sanders took the lead in Spokane County on the second day of vote tallying in the presidential primary, but lost his statewide advantage to Joe Biden.

With at least 10,000 votes left to count in Spokane County, Sanders held a 431-vote edge on the former vice president after trailing Biden on Tuesday evening. Biden, however, amassed more of the statewide ballots counted Tuesday to take a roughly 15,000-vote advantage over Sanders, who handily won Washington’s caucuses in 2016.

That’s a 17,000-vote swing from Election Night, when Sanders held a 2,000-vote advantage. Biden has seen his support nationally swell as other high-profile candidates suspended their campaigns and endorsed him, including Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

The candidates are vying for 89 pledged delegates to the party’s national convention in Milwaukee this summer, where a nominee will be formally chosen. Delegates will be awarded proportionally based not only on statewide results, but also within Congressional districts. Those totals won’t be available until results are certified March 27.

Biden won the Idaho, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi primaries Tuesday, posting a particularly strong showing in Mississippi. There, Sanders is in danger of failing to meet the 15% statewide threshold to receive any delegates. Sanders won 53% of the vote in North Dakota, and the edge in Washington’s final delegate count remains up for grabs.

Sanders told national media he intended to debate Biden on Sunday in Arizona, but also admitted he was losing the “electability debate” to the former vice president.

Several American territories vote this week, and on Tuesday voters in the delegate-rich states of Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Ohio will weigh in.

A candidate will need 1,991 pledged delegates to wrap up the nomination, and the New York Times reported Wednesday that Biden had earned 864 delegates to Sanders’ 710.

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