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Democratic candidates making last-minute pushes for Super Tuesday

Elizabeth Warren fires up the crowd during a Dec. 22 campaign stop in Oklahoma City at Northwest Classen High School, her alma mater. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives]
Elizabeth Warren fires up the crowd during a Dec. 22 campaign stop in Oklahoma City at Northwest Classen High School, her alma mater. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives]

Related coverage:

Super Tuesday: Where the candidates stand on key issues

Democratic presidential campaigns mobilized their Oklahoma supporters this weekend to get out the vote on Tuesday in a primary that could help determine whether some candidates can stay in the race.

“We could be that make-or-break state” for a candidate on the edge, said Alicia Andrews, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

Oklahoma is one of 14 states holding presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, with states like Texas and California promising huge numbers of delegates. Oklahoma has only 37 Democratic delegates to be allocated, but just winning the state could keep a candidate viable into the next round.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has made a heavy push in the state in the last couple of weeks, while former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has made three visits to the state and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on broadcast and digital advertising.

In all, 14 Democratic presidential candidates are on the ballot, though several have effectively dropped out of the race.

President Donald Trump is on the Republican ballot with five unknown challengers. David McLain, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said he expects “abundant turnout” despite Trump not having a competitive race.

The Republican primary is open only to registered Republicans. Independents can vote in the Democratic primary.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won the Democratic presidential primary in Oklahoma in 2016, is on the ballot again and expected to do well. Sanders made one trip to the state back in September; his wife, Jane, was in northeastern Oklahoma last week. Though he raised more money in Oklahoma than the rest of the field, he has not spent much in the state.

Andrews, with the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said she was “thrilled” with the number of candidates who had visited the state.

“We’re getting all kinds of attention,” she said.

All of the leading candidates except former Vice President Joe Biden visited the state or planned to campaign here before Tuesday. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is scheduled to hold a rally on Monday in Oklahoma City. Klobuchar, who was in Oklahoma City last week, is expected to make a stop on Monday in Tulsa.

Biden and other candidates have sent surrogates to campaign in Oklahoma. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, an Oklahoma City native, sent actress and activist Ashley Judd to the state last week.

Warren made a campaign stop in Oklahoma City in late December and recently purchased ads in her home state, one of which attacks Bloomberg, her main target at a debate last month in Nevada.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar also have been advertising in the state. And a political action committee backing Klobuchar made a major buy in Oklahoma last week emphasizing her efforts to unite people of different political stripes.

Though Sanders and Warren have strong support in the state, voters at rallies for Bloomberg and Klobuchar last week said they were looking for a candidate whose ideas were more moderate.

The biggest differences between Sanders and Warren and the rest of the field come on health care, student debt and taxes. Sanders and Warren favor a national health care system with no private insurance options and have proposed canceling all or most student debt and making college free.

Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg and Klobuchar have less expensive proposals for health care and college.

Related coverage:

Super Tuesday: Where the candidates stand on key issues

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8ba927279e9a3f3344663a95c255bc3c.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f1e6906cfe0e833ea4a96da9d3fadcd1.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-27ee5fa7cfd8055bc067f01fdcd44aa2.jpg" alt="Photo - Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks Thursday during a campaign event at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks Thursday during a campaign event at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks Thursday during a campaign event at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ec338cf3fd28130b62292cd4308c66fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a Sept. 22, 2019, rally at Reaves Park in Norman. [The Oklahoman Archives] " title=" Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a Sept. 22, 2019, rally at Reaves Park in Norman. [The Oklahoman Archives] "><figcaption> Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a Sept. 22, 2019, rally at Reaves Park in Norman. [The Oklahoman Archives] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f49ea78f2d01ac6d9adb25ae05184fdd.jpg" alt="Photo - Elizabeth Warren fires up the crowd during a Dec. 22 campaign stop in Oklahoma City at Northwest Classen High School, her alma mater. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] " title=" Elizabeth Warren fires up the crowd during a Dec. 22 campaign stop in Oklahoma City at Northwest Classen High School, her alma mater. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] "><figcaption> Elizabeth Warren fires up the crowd during a Dec. 22 campaign stop in Oklahoma City at Northwest Classen High School, her alma mater. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] </figcaption></figure>
Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›

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