(UPI) — Six states will vote Tuesday in Democratic presidential primaries, as former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fight for the delegate lead ahead of the national convention.
A combined 352 delegates are up for grabs Tuesday after voting in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington. A week ago, Biden took over as the party front-runner after a dominating performance on Super Tuesday a week ago, when he won 10 states to Sanders’ four — including Texas, a state expected to award more delegates to Sanders.
Both candidates campaigned hard in Michigan on Monday, which is the top prize among Tuesday’s contests. The state will award 125 delegates Tuesday.
Whoever wins Tuesday, Michigan is also a state that will be critical for them to win in November. The state voted for then-Republican candidate Donald Trump four years ago and was considered one of the key surprise victories that helped him win the presidency over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
This time, Democrats won’t Michigan for granted.
“I put my faith in Michigan in the depths of the Great Recession — and if you believe, as I do, that our greatest days still lie ahead, I hope that you’ll put your faith in Team Joe,” Biden tweeted late Monday.
“In moments of crisis, presidential leadership is even more important. But time and time again, Donald Trump has proven just how incapable he is of rising to the occasion. He is dangerously unfit to lead our country through a global health challenge.”
Biden comes into the state fresh off receiving multiple new endorsements, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s been floated as a possible running mate, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. The former vice president has also received endorsements from more than 40 governors and members of Congress, not to mention former candidates Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Michael Bloomberg.
Sanders attended a roundtable event in Detroit with health officials and discussed the coronavirus outbreak, and how is the best way to address the spread.
“With the spread of coronavirus, we have already seen people hit with massive medical bills, simply for doing the right thing by getting tested. Others may face massive bills for hospitalization, treatment and quarantine if they need it. This must end. We need Medicare for All,” he said.
Michigan and Missouri, which has 68 delegates up for grabs, both will hold a form of open primary on Tuesday, in which voters can request a ballot for any party on election day. Michigan’s, however, requires voters to identify in writing which party they wish to vote for when they arrive at the polls.
North Dakota has 18 delegates to award holds a firehouse caucus, which are run by the party and allow anyone to participate. Idaho will award 20 delegates.
Many voters in Washington — which holds the second-highest delegate total Tuesday, at 89 — cast their ballots by mail, which must be postmarked no later than Tuesday.
Reporting by Daniel Uria