Biden wins Michigan


March 11, 2020

Charity Smith/Daily Globe

Keaton Beaudoin, 7, looks on as his father, Dean Beaudoin, signs up for a Presidential Primary Election ballot on Tuesday from Ironwood poll workers, from front, Nancy Sturgul, Ethan Puisto and Rosann Angeli. "He'd like to have voted," Dean Beaudoin said of his son. "But he's not allowed to yet... We have rules here in Michigan."


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The Associated Press

Ironwood - Former Vice President Joe Biden won a solid victory in the Michigan Democratic primary on Tuesday, along with sound victories locally in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties.

With 80% of precincts reporting at 11 p.m., Biden had 52.9% of the statewide vote. His only rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, had 37.9%.

Biden had solid leads and was also being declared the winner in the Mississippi and Missouri primaries. Sanders had strong leads in the North Dakota and Washington State primaries going into the late hours.

Locally, with 100% of precincts reporting in Gogebic County, there was a 22.25% voter turnout with 3,153 of 14,170 eligible voters at the polls.

Joe Biden won Gogebic County overwhelmingly with 1,256 of 2,056 votes cast for Democrats. Bernie Sanders was a distant second with 626 votes.

Of the remaining 13 Democrat candidates Michael Bloomberg received 71 votes; Amy Klobuchar, 25; Elizabeth Warren, 22; Tulsi Gabbard, 12; Pete Buttigieg, 11; Joe Sestak, 3; Andrew Yang, 3; Michael Bennett, 2; Cory Booker, 1. Julian Castro, John Delaney, and Marianne Wilson received zero votes. There were 22 uncommitted votes and 1 vote determined to be an unresolved write-in.

Rangeland Real Estate

Ontonagon County had a 26.93% voter turnout with 1,494 of 5,548 voters turning out.

Joe Biden won Ontonagon County with 479 of 860 votes cast for Democrats. Bernie Sanders was a distant second with 271 votes.

Of the remaining 13 Democrat candidates Michael Bloomberg received 33 votes; Elizabeth Warren, 16; Pete Buttigieg, 14; Amy Klobuchar, 12; Tulsi Gabbard, 5; Cory Booker, 2; Marianne Wilson, 1, and Julian Castro, 1. Joe Sestak, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennett and John Delaney received zero votes. There were 25 uncommitted votes and zero unresolved write-ins.

The Interior Township ballot had a millage question that was approved by the voters 55 to 28.

The Republican Primary allowed contenders to President Donald Trump to appear on the ballot.

In Gogebic County, Trump received 914 of 952 ballots cast. Challenger Mark Sanford received 6 votes; Joe Walsh, 5, and Bill Weld, 3.

In Ontonagon County, Trump received 602 of 625 ballots cast. Challenger Bill Weld received 4 votes; Joe Walsh, 3, and Mark Sanford, 1.

Across the country

A resurgent Joe Biden continued his momentum Tuesday by winning Michigan's Democratic primary, denying Bernie Sanders' attempt to rekindle his presidential campaign in what will be a presidential battleground in November.

The primary was the largest delegate prize in this week's slate of contests, which came one week after Biden's big Super Tuesday wins winnowed the field. Michigan is part of the "blue wall" that flipped to Donald Trump in 2016, and Sanders campaigned heavily here in the closing days in hopes of repeating his primary victory four years ago.

But voters backed Biden, the former vice president who pointed to the auto bailout under President Barack Obama and pledged to expand health coverage.

Voters enjoyed expanded rights in Michigan's first major election since the approval of a 2018 constitutional amendment that has resulted in a surge of early voting, which began in late January. People who now can cast an absentee ballot without needing an excuse took advantage, submitting 804,000 through Monday - compared with 447,000 at the same point in 2016 when there was a competitive Republican primary.

The swell of absentee ballots, combined with so many Democratic candidates dropping out - especially since South Carolina and Super Tuesday - led to spikes in the number of voters scratching their ballots and submitting a new one. More than 36,000 ballots were "spoiled," an eight-fold increase over 2016.

The trend is thought to benefit Biden as the party's more moderate wing consolidates around him. Many states do not allow such do-overs.

Michigan's influence has shown from candidates' visits in the closing days.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, urged large crowds to "think big" and embrace his plans to to cancel student debt and guarantee health care for all.

"We are capable of making sweeping change if we have the courage to do it," he said in Ann Arbor.

Sanders criticized the former vice president's record on trade, saying his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement more than 25 years ago would give Trump an edge in battleground Michigan in November.

Biden was joined on the trail by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer along with Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris - two former rivals for the nomination.

Biden touted "Obamacare" and said it should be expanded with a Medicare-like "public option," not scrapped with a single-payer system that would supplant private insurance.

"I'm going to stand firm against anyone who tries to tear down the progress and start all over again," Biden said in Grand Rapids. "Now Sen. Sanders is a good man. His Medicare-for-all push would be a long and expensive slog, if he can get it done at all."

One voter who backed Biden, Russ Ming, 43, said he did not believe Sanders would match up well with Trump.

"He's a more moderate candidate than Sanders," said the mortgage banker from West Bloomfield in suburban Detroit. "I think it's very important that we beat Trump, and Biden is the best to do it. My only goal is to remove the current president from office and install anybody else."

Ronald Childs, 55, of Detroit, also voted for Biden, whom he said is an advocate of voting rights and of women and LGBTQ rights.

He said Biden has a good foreign policy record and "the ability to work across the aisle" with Republicans to get things done.

Larisa Leveck, 24, said she voted absentee for Sanders on Monday in the small town of Ovid north of Lansing.

"He's the only one who's got the platforms that I need," she said, citing his stances on climate change, health care, money in politics, and making public universities and colleges free.

Mark Brewer, a former longtime chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said he expects higher turnout on the Democratic side than four years ago.

This is the first statewide contest in which people can register to vote at any time without a deadline, including on Election Day. Clerks in college towns saw lines on Monday and prepared for more students to show on Tuesday.

The state has said results will likely come later than usual because of the additional absentee ballots and factors such as same-day registrations.

"A lot could be riding on what happens Tuesday in Michigan," Brewer said. "If Sanders wins again, that could recast the race yet again. Then he can say, 'I won a battleground state, a state that's going to be key to the election.' If Biden wins, he can say the same thing."

Ned Herman of St. Clair Shores is a Trump supporter. But he said he took a Democratic ballot and voted for Sanders because he fears Biden would be a tough opponent in November.

"The only word I can say is sabotage," Herman, 49, said with a grin.


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