Super Tuesday 2020

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6:01 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Health care is the top issue for Democratic voters

From CNN's Grace Sparks, Ryan Struyk, Jennifer Agiesta

Health care was the most important issue to Democratic primary voters in Maine and Massachusetts, according to early exit polling from CNN.

Almost half of voters in Maine and 2 in 5 in Massachusetts said health care was the most important in deciding who to vote for, followed by around a quarter in both states for climate change and around 1 in 5 for income inequality.

Fewer than 1 in 10 voters chose race relations in both states.Health care has dominated the Democratic field, with Sen. Bernie Sanders championing "Medicare-for-All," which would replace private insurance with a government plan, with moderates including former Vice President Joe Biden favoring the expansion of a public option within the existing private insurance system.Almost three quarters of voters in Maine and around half in Massachusetts support replacing private insurance with a single government plan.

Watch:

5:27 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Sanders won't encourage Warren to drop out

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

While former Vice President Joe Biden has benefited from a series of endorsements from former presidential candidates as a sign the moderate lane is coalescing, Bernie Sanders' campaign signaled today not to expect a similar consolidation of the progressive lane —at least not any time soon. 

The Sanders campaign is not making any effort to convince Elizabeth Warren to end her presidential bid, even though she and Sanders both come from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and her exit and possibly even endorsement of Sanders could help Sanders’ hopes of winning the nomination. 

Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told CNN there have been no attempts by the Sanders campaign to reach out to Warren or her aides in an attempt to forge a partnership or convince her to get behind their campaign.

“She has been campaigning very hard, has raised a lot of money and has earned a lot of votes,” Shakir said. “She should be given the time and space to decide for herself about the future of her campaign.”
5:35 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Bloomberg team insists it won't be over tonight: "The math gets even better for us"

From CNN's MJ Lee

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For now, Michael Bloomberg himself and his advisers are not publicly entertaining the idea of this being their last election night.

It’s why he’s spending all day in Florida, where the election isn’t until March 17. We also heard this morning these blunt words from Bloomberg himself: “I have no intention of dropping out. We’re in it to win it,” he said in Miami. 

He even went as far as to ask reporters:

“Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out? When you ask him that, then you can call me.”

His advisers have been careful to stay on this message heading into Super Tuesday, too, by emphasizing what they insist is their long view of the race.

One adviser likened their rapid, last-minute building of a presidential campaign to “flying the plane as you’re building it,” and that there have obviously been challenges to that model.

This person told CNN that, as they get further into the month of March, “The math gets even better for us.” By then, they said, they will have had months of “being at full capacity” like their rivals and that their built-in disadvantage of having made a late-entry will further erode.

And if Super Tuesday is hugely important because roughly a third of the delegates get handed out tonight, the Bloomberg camp is also emphasizing that this also means two-thirds of the delegates are still up for grabs.

“Mike’s campaign was built for the long haul,” the adviser said. “This is a race for the delegates.”

5:31 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Early exit polls are in. Here's what they show.

David Goldman/AP
David Goldman/AP

A substantial share of voters said they made up their minds about whom to support in the last few days, according to preliminary results from CNN exit polls.

Here's what they show:

  • Virginia: Nearly half of Democratic primary voters said that they made up their minds about whom to support in the last few days before voting.
  • North Carolina: Nearly 3 in 10 still said they made up their minds in the last few days. About 4 in 10 in each state said they made up their minds before voting began in early February.

In both states, white voters were more likely to say they made up their minds in the last few days than were black voters, including a majority of white voters in Virginia. Most black voters in both states said they had decided on their choice before February.

Majorities in both states said they would prefer a nominee who can beat President Donald Trump over one with whom they agree on the issues. That's a notable difference between these two southern states and South Carolina.

Breaking down the CNN exit polls:

5:20 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Super Tuesday moment of truth for Bloomberg: "The race feels open to us"

From CNN's MJ Lee

Brynn Anderson/AP
Brynn Anderson/AP

Super Tuesday marks a huge moment of truth for Michael Bloomberg’s unconventional, unprecedented presidential campaign — finally, and for the first time, Bloomberg will be on the ballot.

Remember: It has been exactly 100 days since Bloomberg launched his 2020 campaign.

The former New York City mayor decided to get into the 2020 race late, skip the four early nominating states all together, and pour hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money at a dizzying pace into this campaign. As Bloomberg has risen in the polls, the question that’s loomed over this race is whether a candidate really can have a real shot at the White House nomination even by ignoring so many traditions and norms of presidential campaigning.

The results of today’s races will begin to offer the first real answers to that question, in the form of voters casting their ballots.

What is the Bloomberg team’s overarching outlook on the state of the 2020 race right now? His team insists that after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the one thing that is undeniable — and what they believe supports the theory of the case for the Bloomberg candidacy — is that there is no clear frontrunner yet. 

“The race is really unsettled,” one senior aide told CNN. “Through the first four states we’ve had a different result in each of those four first contests. So we definitely feel like there is no clear frontrunner who is capable of both winning and taking on Trump. The race feels open to us.”

Of course, that is their positive spin today, and what’s left unsaid here is one obvious reality: After tonight, a clearer frontrunner could very well emerge, particularly with Bernie Sanders poised to grab significant chunks of delegates in large states like California. It also ignores the phenomenal political momentum Joe Biden has gained since his decisive win in South Carolina, including the endorsements from Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, and what could very well be intensifying pressure on Bloomberg to leave the race.

Why Super Tuesday is a moment of truth for Bloomberg campaign:

5:20 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Long voting lines seen in Nashville after devastating storms

Some voters have waited in line for two hours in Nashville following severe storms and at least one tornado that rattled the community late Monday and early today.

CNN's Amara Walker spoke to Caroline Winroe, who has been waiting at the Cleveland Community Center to cast her vote.

"People are pleasant and polite. We have learned a lot about the neighbors, and asked where they live and whether the power is on or off, but there is a lot of devastation in East Nashville," Winroe said.

More on Nashville's storms: At least 22 people have died across central Tennessee as a result of the severe storms and tornado.

The storms left numerous homes and other buildings in ruins across several counties, and left tens of thousands of people without power and hundreds at least temporarily looking for another place to live.

In Nashville, 48 buildings collapsed, others were damaged and about 150 people have been taken to hospitals because of the storm, Mayor John Cooper said.

In Nashville's Germantown area alone, parts of apartment and other multi-story buildings were ripped open, with bricks, roofing material and glass strewn about, images from CNN affiliate WTVF show.

Watch:

5:09 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Biden: "My hopes are high"

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Joe Biden says his “hopes are high” going into Super Tuesday as the race shifts.

Biden had a decisive victory in South Carolina, followed by a show of unity as three of his former rivals endorsed his candidacy.

A Biden adviser argued their long term strategy of using South Carolina as his springboard is playing out in real time now — with that wave of endorsements and an influx of cash.

The campaign tonight is hoping to do well in Southern states — those with significant African American populations like Alabama. They also see some signs of hope in Virginia after high profile endorsements poured in.

An adviser said they believe they have a “chance of doing better everywhere” after these past three days.

But Biden has also been outspent and is outmanned on the ground in many of these Super Tuesday states.

Key point: So the question for Biden now is can he convert the biggest 72 hours of his campaign into actual results at the ballot box and momentum going forward?

Biden campaign comments on new developments:

5:22 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Warren says nominating Biden "will not meet this moment"

From CNN's Leyla Santiago

Mark J. Terrill/AP
Mark J. Terrill/AP

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren has spent much of her time targeting billionaire Mike Bloomberg on the campaign trail, in the 24 hours leading up to Super Tuesday, Warren is also taking aim at Joe Biden as moderates coalesce around the former vice president.

“No matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support him, nominating their fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment. Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment,” she said last night.

Some context: When talking to reporters this morning, Warren would not say Super Tuesday was do or die for her. But for weeks now, Warren’s campaign has pointed to her organization and efforts in Super Tuesday states as her path to the nomination. And in a statement released by her campaign manager, he touts the $29 million in fundraising in February to make the case for the campaign’s momentum.

But the super PAC that poured millions of dollars in ad buys to back Warren in Super Tuesday states, has now confirmed it will not be spending on any of the contests taking place on March 10.

And as she tries to make the case for herself as a progressive and a woman in the race, supporters told CNN they believe tonight will be a make or break moment.

Warren shifts aim from Bloomberg to Biden:

5:11 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Sanders campaign manager: Biden is the "perfect foil" for the senator

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Andy Clayton-King/AP
Andy Clayton-King/AP

Bernie Sanders' campaign is ready for a one-on-one matchup.

They have been preparing for a head-to-head between Sanders and Joe Biden since the the beginning of his campaign.

The campaign sent a memo to supporters telling them they are prepared for the challenge and that they have never been worried about the moderate lane consolidating. They knew the time would come and knew that Sanders would only win the nomination by beating an establishment candidate head-to-head.

But in a conversation with CNN, Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir took it a step further. Shakir said that the campaign’s view is that Biden is the establishment candidate they feel best prepared to take on.

“Joe Biden represents a perfect foil for Bernie Sanders,” Shakir said. “The two men have lived through and played an active role in some of the most important policy decisions of the past three decades. In almost every case, Bernie Sanders has been right and Joe Biden has been wrong.”

Shakir pointed to Sanders and Biden’s role in key decisions in American history, such as the run up to the Iraq war, the battle over the future of social security, the bankruptcy bill and the crime bill. All examples of areas where the two differed. Shakir argued that the Democratic party in 2020 views where Sanders stood as the right side of history.

Sanders campaign prepares for Biden matchup: