Biden wins state, but Sanders strong in Hampshire County 

  • Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election night campaign rally Tuesday in Los Angeles. AP PHOTO/CHRIS CARLSON

  • Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., cheer as they watch voting returns at a primary night election rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Published: 3/4/2020 12:23:32 AM

HOLYOKE — Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in Massachusetts, edging out Bernie Sanders in a surprise victory, while Elizabeth Warren finished third in her home state.

Locally, Sanders did well, winning in Easthampton, Holyoke, Hadley, Hatfield, Williamsburg, Granby, Chesterfield, Worthington, Belchertown, Shutesbury and Cummington. Biden won Southampton and South Hadley, and Warren won in Pelham and Goshen. Other municipalities had not reported results by press time Tuesday night.

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump comfortably won the state’s primary.

But it was the former vice president who defied expectations on Super Tuesday in the state where Warren has made her career and where Sanders, who recently held rallies in Springfield and Boston, expected to do well with left-leaning voters. Biden finished with 34% of the vote at around 10:50 p.m. when the Associated Press called the race, beating Sanders’ 27.3% and Warren’s 20.2%.

Massachusetts voted together with 13 other states on Tuesday, exactly eight months before the general election. Democrats abroad also cast ballots in their primary, and American Samoa held its own caucuses. More than 1,300 pledged delegates will be awarded based on Tuesday’s final results, representing a third of all delegates nationwide. To win the Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate needs to secure 1,990 pledged delegates.

Massachusetts will award the fifth-largest pool of delegates from Super Tuesday. Its 91 pledged delegates are less than the 99 pledged in Virginia, 110 in North Carolina, 228 in Texas and 415 in California. The other states to vote on Tuesday were Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont.

Sanders began the night with 60 pledged delegates, having won the popular vote in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Biden trailed close behind ahead of Tuesday’s contests, with 54 delegates. Warren began Tuesday with eight delegates, all from her third-place finish in Iowa.

Tuesday was also the first day that former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was on ballots across the country. Bloomberg had elected to skip the first four states, instead pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising in Super Tuesday states hoping to sweep in and pick up delegates.

Sanders lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016, receiving 48.7% of the vote to Clinton’s 50.1%. He did defeat Clinton in Hampshire County, however, winning 62.7% of the vote in the county.

‘Looking at Joe’

On Tuesday, it looked as though Sanders was poised to win many of the municipalities across Hampshire and Franklin counties, though vote totals from many communities — including Northampton and Amherst — had not yet been reported in the hour before midnight.

Easthampton voted overwhelmingly for Sanders with 2,019 votes to Warren’s 1,439. Biden came in third with 1,102.

Sanders won in Holyoke with 2,359 votes — 38.7% of the votes cast in the city, according to unofficial tallies. Biden finished next in Holyoke with 27.1%. Warren came in third with 17.9%, and Bloomberg in fourth with 11.2%. Voter turnout in Holyoke was at 49%, with 13,233 voters casting ballots.

At the polls on Tuesday, supporters of the candidates made their cases. And for some Biden supporters, it appears that the recent consolidation of the centrist wing of the party — with Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropping out to endorse Biden — played a big role in their decision.

Southampton Biden voter Judith Conlin said that she’d considered voting for Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Warren, but “the way things are winnowing down, I’m looking at Joe.”

Biden won Southampton with 33.7% to Sanders’ 29.1%. Warren came in third there with 19.3%.

Electability was also cited by other Biden voters.

“I think he has the best chance of beating Trump,” said Donna Shepard of Southampton.

Sanders campaign had plenty of energy in the Pioneer Valley, however, sweeping many of the municipalities that had reported results before press time. The campaign’s headquarters in Northampton and Holyoke had canvassers spread across the region recently.

Linda Stacey, a Sanders voter in Westhampton, was at the candidate’s rally on the Boston Common on Saturday.

“That was a tremendous, tremendous amount of people,” she said.

John Sheehan, of Southampton, said that he voted for Sanders because he thought Sanders “could defeat Trump,” and was unsure if Warren could defeat him.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at
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