Rampant Biden crushes Sanders in primary hat-trick

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has steamrolled rival Bernie Sanders in primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

Accelerating his momentum in the race, the former US vice-president made a clean sweep in all three states.

Mr Biden appealed for support directly to Sanders supporters.

With his hat-trick, Mr Biden took another big stride towards becoming the Democratic candidate who will face President Donald Trump in November.

Mr Biden won a smashing victory over Mr Sanders in Florida, the biggest prize of the night with 219 delegates. The former vice-president won 62 per cent of the vote and about 130 delegates. Mr Sanders, with only 23 per cent, took some 48 delegates, with the rest still to be distributed.

Mr Trump won that traditional battleground state by 1.2 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

In Illinois, with most precincts reporting, Mr Biden led the Vermont senator by 59 per cent to 36 per cent.

With most votes counted in Arizona, Mr Biden has a double-digit lead over Mr Sanders in the south-western state.

A Democratic candidate needs 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination.

On the eve of Tuesday’s vote, Mr Biden was hoping to build on his victories in 16 of the last 21 state contests.

The former US vice-president’s triumph last month in South Carolina – his first ever primary win over three campaigns for president – resuscitated his faltering campaign.

According to opinion polling, most voters said electability was a priority for them.

About three in four Florida voters said Mr Biden would have a better chance of beating Mr Trump, a Republican. Just one in five said the same of Mr Sanders.

Older voters were more likely to say they supported Mr Biden.

Nearly half of Florida’s voters said Mr Sanders’ stances were too liberal.

In a webcam speech from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to comply with US anti-coronavirus advice against public gatherings, Mr Biden appealed to Mr Sanders’ passionate supporters.

He said: “Let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders, I hear you, I know what’s at stake, I know what we have to do.”

But he focused largely on the outbreak sweeping the US, striking a unifying tone as he said: “The coronavirus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican… we’re all in this together.” -BBC

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