Joe Biden appeared headed for a majority of Washington’s 89 pledged delegates to the national convention after more votes in the state’s Democratic presidential primary were counted Thursday.
With a quarter-million ballots remaining to be counted, both Democratic and Republican, Biden held a 26,000-vote lead on Bernie Sanders. Late ballots appeared to have broken for the longtime Delaware senator and two-term Vice President, with Sanders posting a 2,000-vote lead on election night.
Biden also retook the lead Thursday in ballots cast in Spokane County for the Democratic primary, one day after Sanders took a 400-plus vote lead.
Biden held a 745-vote edge in the most recent count, with 8,579 ballots left to count in Spokane County. Those ballots could have been cast for either a Democrat or Republican.
Washington residents started voting by mail Feb. 21, and Sanders handily won the Nevada caucus a day later. But Biden began gaining ground with strong showings in the South on Super Tuesday.
As of Thursday’s count, Biden was ahead in 23 of Washington’s 39 counties, including the four with the most registered voters: King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane. Sanders was ahead in the central Washington counties of Yakima, Kittitas and Chelan.
Turnout in Spokane County has already far surpassed the party primaries in 2016, though neither Democrats nor Republicans awarded delegates to their national convention based on those contests.
Based on the number of ballots remaining to be counted, turnout in Spokane County will at least top 45% in the primary, with a total of more than 151,000 ballots cast. In 2016, 111,000 Washington voters cast their ballots, good for a turnout of 37.4%.
Another count of Spokane County’s ballots will occur Friday. The election results will be certified March 27; the parties will then assign delegates who are scheduled to be selected at upcoming caucuses later this spring.
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