Biden wins Oklahoma Democratic primary
Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary in Oklahoma on Tuesday, easily beating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Mike Bloomberg despite making little effort in the state.
With 1,888 of 1,948 precincts reporting, Biden had 38.4% of the vote; Sanders had 25.3%; and Bloomberg had 14.1%.
Biden’s campaign, which appeared to be in trouble after the first contests, got a huge jolt of momentum after his runaway victory on Saturday in South Carolina. That forced two other moderates, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg out of the race; both had been set to appear in Oklahoma this week.
Biden, 77, never visited Oklahoma and began advertising only in the last few days. He received the support of 47% of those voting in the Oklahoma Democratic primary who made up their minds in the last few days.
Former Oklahoma state Rep. Scott Inman, who backed Biden, said Tuesday's "overwhelming victory in Oklahoma and around the nation for Joe Biden proves that he's the one candidate who can unite all factions of the Democratic Party and appeal to the independents and moderate Republicans."
Sanders, looking for a repeat victory after winning the Oklahoma Democratic primary in 2016, visited the state last fall, had an army of volunteers and sponsored ads in the last week. Bloomberg came to Oklahoma three times and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising and paid staff. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, an Oklahoma City native, finished fourth.
On the Republican side, President Donald Trump crushed his five opponents, garnering 93% of the vote.
Oklahoma was among 14 states and one territory voting on Super Tuesday. At 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Biden had won six states, all in the South, and Sanders had won Vermont and Colorado.
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Exit polls conducted by a consortium of news organizations showed Biden got 48% of the Oklahoma Democratic primary voters who identified themselves as Democrats and 27% of independents, who were allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.
According to the exit polls, Biden got 50% of the moderate vote, and he got the support of 45% of the voters whose top issue was health care. Biden got 48% of the voters who are more concerned about beating Trump than particular issues. He also got the largest share of the white and non-white vote.
Dillon Smith, 42, of Oklahoma City, cast his ballot for Biden, though his first choice was Buttigieg.
“Well I was really excited to vote for Mayor Pete, but yesterday kind of changed those plans,” Smith said. “So I decided to follow Buttigieg’s advice and vote for Biden.”
Megan Moore, 22, of Edmond, said, “I voted for Bernie Sanders because I believe he has the best chance to not only beat Trump but I think what he is promising is a revolutionary movement in America.”
In Norman, Renee Griffith, 63, said she voted for Biden, even though she had been supporting Buttigieg.
“I believe in voting,” she said. “I believe one vote counts, even though the system is the way it is. I also didn’t really get to vote for who I wanted to because he dropped out.”
Laura Bolfbeliveau, 53, a University of Central Oklahoma professor, said the election was one of the most important faced by the country.
“I think we are at a crossroads in what we want our democracy to be,” she said. “I think if more people voted, the democracy would be stronger. And so, I do not ever miss an election, but this one’s particularly important.”
She did not disclose her vote.