Biden Wins Virginia Primary Handily
Joe Biden won Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary in a landslide Tuesday.
Biden took 53% of the vote and topped the next closest candidate, Bernie Sanders, by some 30 points.
Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg were even further behind, polling about 10% each.
Biden was heavily supported by African American voters. Sanders performed best with younger voters and will get a share of Virginia's convention delegates. Bloomberg spent heavily on advertising in Virginia but it didn't pay off.
Biden supporters celebrate
Biden supporter Keisha Cummings celebrated Tuesday night, along with other Richmond Democrats at a downtown restaurant. Cummings said she voted for Biden because she thinks he has the best shot at beating President Donald Trump. “And so we need a President that’s going to represent all the people. Both Democrat and Republican," Cummings noted. "Someone that can act like a leader, regardless of if you disagree with someone or not and treat people like human beings.”
Across the state, turnout was high for the primary and in many places rose above what it was in 2016.
Jamie Nolan, chair of the Richmond City Democratic Committee, said she expects the same enthusiasm from Democrats this November. “The silver lining of 2016 is here we are. People are participating. People are paying attention and there’s nowhere to go but up from here,” Nolan predicted.
Democrats have fared well in Virginia in recent years but the Republican Party here says the Trump campaign still sees the state as a top target in 2020.
Health care was a top concern for voters
Voters in Tuesday’s primary in Virginia ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, far ahead of other issues like the economy, race relations, foreign policy and gun violence. That’s according to exit polling conducted by the Associated Press.
Strong Leadership was the top quality voters said they were looking for in a Democratic presidential candidate. The ability to beat President Trump was a close second.
Few voting problems reported
Tuesday’s voting went off with few hitches, according to state officials.
In fact, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections said it was the smoothest election he’s experienced since 2003.
A few precincts in Roanoke County and Petersburg experienced power outages, but Chris Piper said voting was not delayed. "Machines that are used in the polling places have battery backup so they can continue to operate through a power outage," Piper said in a conference call with reporters. "And then most localities have at the ready generators to deploy to those locations."
Piper called Tuesday a good test for November, though the turnout and the attention will be much higher then.
This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.