Biden Wins Mississippi and Missouri With Overwhelming Black Support

The early results spell more bad news for Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign has so far shown an inability to break through with black voters.
March 11, 2020, 12:14am
Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks with an attendee during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

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Update: Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary, a result that could be devastating for the senator from Vermont.

  • Biden is projected to win Missouri after Sanders nearly beat Hillary Clinton there in 2016
  • Biden is projected to win Mississippi, as expected
  • Older voters continued to break for Biden in a big way, and younger voters for Sanders
  • Biden continued to dominate with voters whose primary issue is beating Trump

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden came out of the gate hot on Tuesday’s primary night, fortifying his national lead on the strength of his support from the black community.

The former vice president took home wins in Mississippi and Missouri, two states with significant African-American populations, the Associated Press projected just minutes after polls closed in those two states.

The early results spell more bad news for Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign has so far shown an inability to break through with a significant number of black voters. A quick call in Missouri is particularly jarring for the campaign, because Sanders narrowly lost that state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

That Biden won Mississippi is not a surprise. He turned what had been a slumping campaign around entirely with a blowout win in another Southern state with an African-American heavy Democratic electorate: South Carolina. Clinton also won Mississippi handily over Sanders in 2016, winning all but 5 of the state’s 36 delegates.

But Sanders could have expected to be more competitive in Missouri where his campaign in 2016 lost to Clinton 49.6% to 49.4% and she earned 36 delegates to Sanders’ 35.

One-fifth of Democratic voters in that state are African-American, which likely helped drive Biden’s quick victory. But the fact that Biden won quickly and handily in a midwestern state with a smaller black electorate as a percentage of the Democratic voting population bodes well for his ability to win in the biggest delegate prize of the night: Michigan.

Cover: Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks with an attendee during a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images)