MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — In a state that had very few polls to measure how things would shake out, Minnesota’s Democratic voters have spoken and they choose former vice-president Joe Biden to go up against President Donald Trump in the general election in November.
Polls from within just the last week showed Sen. Amy Klobuchar with a small lead on Sen. Bernie Sanders, albeit within the margin of error.
Then, in a Monday shocker, Klobuchar joined former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in suspending their campaigns and voicing support for Joe Biden, who like them represents the more moderate faction of the party.
As of 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, the Minnesota DFL said the spread of delegates from this state would number 26 for Biden, 18 for Bernie Sanders, and 5 for Elizabeth Warren.
Biden had done little in Minnesota before Super Tuesday but clearly benefited from Klobuchar’s backing and that of fellow moderate Pete Buttegieg, who ended his campaign Sunday.
The effort by moderates to unify behind Biden denied front-runner Bernie Sanders a victory in Minnesota, where he won caucuses four years ago and enjoyed strong support from progressives again this cycle. Sanders had endorsements and campaign help from Rep. Ilhan Omar and state Attorney General Keith Ellison.
But Klobuchar’s decision forced her supporters to make a quick second choice, and Biden was the clear beneficiary.
Congrats to @JoeBiden on a great night, including his victory in Minnesota!
As I said last night, Joe will bring our party together and build a strong coalition to unite this country. And he will win big in November!
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) March 4, 2020
Supporters of Biden admitted to being surprised about the results.
“Words can’t explain,” one supporter told WCCO. “This was an uphill battle. We always knew with Sen. Klobuchar in the race, with the way Sen. Bernie Sanders did here four years ago getting 60%, that this was an uphill battle for the Biden campaign.”
Super Tuesday this year is all about the race to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But it’s also an important time for Republicans to think about their strategy. Minnesota’s been a Democratic presidential stronghold for decades, and tonight was a test run for Minnesota Republicans. Republicans are organizing heavily, they say voters mindsets have changed, and Minnesota is trending red.
WCCO’s Pat Kessler reports that, depending on who the Democrats pick for President, Republicans winning Minnesota is not outside the realm of possibility, and they are spending heavily to get it done.
Trump had the Minnesota GOP primary ballot all to himself after party leaders decided not to list any Republican challengers. It was Minnesota’s first presidential primary since 1992 after decades of relying on precinct caucuses to indicate presidential preference.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)