On the biggest day of the Democratic presidential primary calendar, 14 states — from Maine to California — held primaries on Super Tuesday. There were1,357 delegates at stake, just over a third of the votes at this summer’s nominating convention.
The balloting shaped up as a battle between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg dropped out Wednesday morning after a disappointing showing, considering the hundreds of millions he’s spent on his campaign. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also fell well short of expectations.
Our reporters in California and other key Super Tuesday states followed the day’s developments and will keep you up to date on the aftermath.
Joe Biden wins Maine
2020 Democratic primary is a Biden-Sanders race after Bloomberg drops out
WASHINGTON — The Democratic presidential campaign has turned into a two-person contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, as former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg dropped out of the race Wednesday and threw his support behind Biden. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was also weighing her future in the dwindling field.
“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,” said Bloomberg, ditching his long-shot bid after spending more than $660 million of his own money on the effort and coming up with only a handful of delegates in Tuesday’s 14-state primary. “After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”
In the wake of Tuesday’s voting, which delivered a remarkable comeback for Biden, the race now moves to major battleground states in a contest that splits the party along ideological and generational lines.
After big night for Biden, the fight ahead will test whether he or Sanders can expand their coalitions
WASHINGTON — The drive to political revolution has hit a big speed bump.
In the first coast-to-coast, multi-state primary of the 2020 campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden swept across the South and battled Sen. Bernie Sanders to a draw in key northern states because of overwhelming support from African Americans and a surge from voters who decided just in the last few days whom to support.
The result dashed Sanders’ hope of becoming the prohibitive front-runner as a result of the Super Tuesday voting — an ambition that seemed within his grasp until Biden resurrected his campaign on Saturday in South Carolina.
The Vermont senator was slowed, but not stopped, by a newly energized party establishment that has rallied behind Biden in the last four days. As a result, the Democratic Party that just days ago wondered whether Sanders would emerge from Super Tuesday with an insurmountable delegate lead is now girding for a protracted two-man fight. It will pit an establishment-backed, old-school Democrat against an independent progressive who wants to upend the party.
Michael Bloomberg drops out of the presidential race and endorses Joe Biden
After spending more of his own money than any presidential candidate in history, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ended his presidential bid Wednesday after a feeble showing in the Super Tuesday primaries that were critical in his unconventional path to the Democratic nomination.
Bloomberg said he would endorse Joe Biden, the former vice president who pulled a stunning comeback Tuesday and surged into the lead in the nomination race.
Jeff Sessions forced into primary runoff in his bid to regain Senate seat
WASHINGTON — Former Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ bid for redemption evolved into a struggle for political survival Tuesday as he was forced into a runoff for the Republican Senate nomination from Alabama, a seat he owned for 20 years before his rocky stay in the Trump administration.
Sessions, 73, was hoping the sour relationship he endured with Trump as his first attorney general wouldn’t derail his Alabama comeback bid. He faces a March 31 faceoff against Tommy Tuberville, a political novice and former Auburn football coach.
In incomplete results, Sessions trailed Tuberville slightly and lagged behind the combined total for Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne, his next nearest rival, by nearly 2-1 — a clear danger sign for a household name like Sessions. Alabama requires a runoff if no candidate receives more than half the primary’s votes.
Sessions was one of the most conservative senators when he became Trump’s first attorney general in 2017. Their relationship crumbled and Sessions resigned the next year after he enraged Trump by recusing himself from the Justice Department’s probe of Russian assistance to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Sessions is in a tight race in Tuesday’s primary for the Alabama GOP’s Senate nomination. He gave up the seat in 2017 for an ill-fated stint as Trump’s attorney general.
Sessions cast himself as a Trump loyalist anyway. Trump remained virtually silent, which didn’t help Sessions. His rivals touted their own fealty to the president, with Tuberville saying in an ad, “God sent us Donald Trump.”
The GOP primary winner will be favored in November’s election in the deep-red state against Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat. Jones defeated former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in a 2017 special election after Moore was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with teenagers decades ago when in his 30s. Moore limped this time to a weak fourth-place finish.
Biden wins Texas and 8 other Super Tuesday states; Sanders takes California and 3 more
Joe Biden seized control of the Democratic presidential contest with a string of Super Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders, as voters across the country cast their ballots determined to pick the candidate they believe stands the best chance of defeating President Trump in November.
Sanders captured the day’s grand prize, California, on the strength of his performance among Latinos and younger voters. The senator also won Colorado and Utah as well as his home state of Vermont.
Biden, who had been all but written off after a stumbling start in Iowa and New Hampshire, emphatically marked his comeback with victories — some by double digits — in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Most surprisingly, he also won Texas, the day’s other big prize.
L.A. County voters encounter hours-long waits and glitches with brand-new system
Los Angeles voters who showed up to cast ballots in person on Tuesday reported long wait times and operational errors at a number of the county’s newly designed vote centers, experiences that suggested an inauspicious beginning for L.A.'s first fully redesigned election system in more than half a century.
While some Angelenos gave high marks to the new voting machines and applauded the extended hours of operation, a number of the in-person locations were overwhelmed by the throngs of voters looking to participate in the most talked-about California presidential primary in at least a generation. The flow of voters had hardly ebbed by the official end of voting at 8 p.m. Those in line at that time were allowed to stay there until they had a chance to vote.
“This is absurd,” said Jefferson Stewart, a software designer who left the vote center at the Westchester Family YMCA frustrated after waiting 90 minutes to cast his ballot. “If the idea is to make this simpler, it’s gotten much worse.”
California voters choose Bernie Sanders
California, the marquee prize of the 14-state voting bonanza of Super Tuesday, has sided with Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to Associated Press projections.
Sanders was leading in early returns Tuesday night, but the question remains how much of the state’s trove of 415 delegates his competitors will claim. Former Vice President Joe Biden seems likely to have enough support to claim a significant number of delegates, and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may as well. But the final delegate numbers will remain unsettled for days, if not weeks, as state officials count millions of provisional and late-arriving mail-in ballots and calculate the state’s complex delegate math.
The projection of Sanders’ win came immediately as the polls closed at 8 p.m., even as many voters remained in line, with widespread complaints of long waits at polling places. The AP based its race call on its exit polls, which found that Sanders had enough of a lead, particularly among votes that were mailed in early, to prevent Biden and Bloomberg from catching up. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was lagging behind in fourth place in early returns but may still be in position to claim some delegates.
Joe Biden wins Texas
How are elections called before the final results are in? The Times explains
Billy Crystal runs through the candidates at Barbara Boxer’s PAC for a Change fundraiser
As election night returns came in, actor Billy Crystal ran through the Democratic field at a fundraiser in West Hollywood:
Bernie Sanders: “an old man at Canter’s trying to get the attention of a waiter.”
Joe Biden had as strong a showing on Tuesday as he did during the first Super Tuesday, “when he won eight of the 13 colonies.”
And Michael Bloomberg? “I’d like to make a joke about Mike Bloomberg. But he paid me $3 million not to say that.”
Crystal was among the entertainers at a fundraiser for former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s PAC for a Change, which is focused on keeping the Democratic majority in the House and winning the Senate and the White House. About 400 people — a mix of elected officials, celebrities and Democratic activists — nibbled on quinoa salad, sliders and hummus at the Abbey in West Hollywood as they watched the returns and mixed some levity with their politics.
“This has been quite a historic night. We don’t know the delegate count,” Boxer, a Biden backer, told the crowd, a mix of Sanders and Biden supporters, before reading off each state that held a primary today and the results. “Listen closely to what happened tonight. Because it is one of the most historic turnarounds, I think, ever.”
California Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks explained that the end results — and final delegate allocation — would not be clear anytime soon because of the Golden State’s size.
“If you are looking for a quick fix, you’re not going to get it tonight. You’re going to get some results, you’re going to get a general sense of the direction,” Hicks said. “Ultimately it’s going to take probably a couple weeks or so to fully understand where every delegate is going to be allocated here in California.”
Singer Lisa Loeb sang “Stay (I Missed You),” Jason Alexander self-deprecatingly compared himself to Crystal, actors Aisha Tyler and Kirsten Vangsness read a suffragette’s essay, and singer Thelma Houston read Barbara Jordan’s keynote address to the 1976 Democratic convention.
“We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in the search of our future,” she read. “We are a people in search of a national community. We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present, but we are attempting on a larger scale to fulfill the promise of America.”
Why does it take so long to get election results in California?
If the measure of a successful election were only how quickly the results are released, then California would be a disaster. But that’s not how election officials in the state see it. They’re focused on accuracy over speed.
“We prioritize the right to vote and election security over rushing the vote count,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said last week. “In California, we’d rather get it right than get it fast.”
County election officials have 30 days to count all ballots and audit the tally. Padilla will then certify the results by April 10.
Last call for voters at Shepherd of the Valley Church
“This is it, if you’re not in line you’re not in,” poll worker Nick Franchino, an L.A. County GIS manager, called at 8:01 p.m. to the people in the end of the line that stretched outside Shepherd of the Valley Church and around the corner.
He let the last two women run in before he closed it off.
“You have to tell them it’s closed and you’re the last person,” he told the last person in line, while taking a picture of her and the others at the end of the line in West Hills.
At 8:08 p.m. as he counted voters in line from back to front: 222.
Lesley Kyle put her twin 5-year-olds to bed with just enough time to rush to the church, the closest vote center.
She barely made it. Her husband, home with the kids, already mailed in his ballot, but Kyle “wanted to just go over and verify my research on the judges and the measures,” she said.
Kyle planned to vote for Joe Biden for president. “Who my children see is important to me, who represents my children, and the future and the well-being of my kids, is important,” Kyle said.
“I think that he is the candidate that exudes the most decency.”
Barbara Boxer calls Joe Biden’s campaign turnaround ‘extraordinary’
Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has known Joe Biden since the 1980s and endorsed his candidacy, said she had grown concerned about the former vice president’s prospects and was relieved he was able to turn it around.
“To think that Joe Biden has come back in this fashion, without money and without organization, is extraordinary,” the California Democrat said in an interview at the Abbey in West Hollywood. “And I have to say Jim Clyburn, I believe, is the one who put the wind at his back, and he basically said to America, ‘I know Joe, and Joe is a good person,’ and that just woke everybody up.”
Boxer made the remarks at a fundraiser/election night watch party for her PAC for a Change at the Abbey. About 400 people attended, including actors Jason Alexander, Rosanna Arquette, Billy Crystal, Frances Fisher, Aisha Tyler, Kirsten Vangsness, producer Andy Lassner and singer Lisa Loeb.
Boxer said she had been “very worried” about Biden’s performance in much of the campaign, but was confident he would come back because of the number of times that he has rebounded from hardship and tragedy, and because she truly believed he was the best candidate to unite the country.
“What I love about Joe is he doesn’t demonize anybody; why should you? Why should you demonize people who have money? Bernie Sanders used to demonize millionaires; now he’s a millionaire so he doesn’t demonize millionaires, he demonizes billionaires,” Boxer said, adding that there are good and bad people in every group. “It has nothing to do with your bank accounts, just what your values are.”
She added that she believes that Biden would be able to accumulate enough delegates to avoid a contested convention, but if he didn’t, there was a system in place to select a nominee.
“And Bernie Sanders wrote the rules for that system. So we’re prepared; I’m not afraid of it at all,” she said. “We’ll make it happen.”
Bloomberg puts best face on a bad Tuesday night, says he’s a ‘contender’
As rivals Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden began racking up victories in primaries across the nation on Tuesday, Michael R. Bloomberg tried to put the best face on his middling performance after spending more than half a billion dollars on his campaign.
“As the results come in, here’s what is clear,” the former New York City mayor told supporters in West Palm Beach, Fla. “No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible. In just three months, we’ve gone from 1% in the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.”
The 16 Democratic presidential contests on Tuesday were the first with Bloomberg’s name on the ballot. The lone victory for the billionaire candidate was American Samoa. In some states that Bloomberg lost, he at least reached the 15% threshold to start acquiring some delegates.
Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told reporters the candidate would reassess his position Wednesday morning after reviewing the Super Tuesday results.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman, Julie Wood, urged the media not to read too much into Sheekey’s remarks, saying on Twitter that “any campaign would reassess after tonight, after next week, after any time there was a vote. ... This doesn’t mean anything.”
Speaking a short drive away from Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s resort, Bloomberg focused on a general election showdown with Trump, hitting him on everything from his tweeting to his golfing.
“I know you’re not used to seeing a New Yorker in southern Florida in late winter,” he said. “But unlike the president, I didn’t come here to golf or reveal classified information to members at Mar-a-Lago.”
He said his campaign had the resources to win in November in states that Democrats lost in 2016, like Florida. He also dismissed the importance of strong debate performances, a reference to his own poorly reviewed appearances.
Bernie Sanders takes aim at Biden and Bloomberg
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been underestimated since the beginning of his political career. That was his opening message at a rally in his home state as results from Super Tuesday states rolled in.
He won against all odds when he ran for mayor of Burlington, he told the crowd in Essex Junction, Vt.
“And when we began this race for the president, everybody said it couldn’t be done,” he said. “But tonight I tell you in absolute confidence, we are going to win the Democratic nomination.”
Sanders took aim at a part of Democratic Party that he says does not want him to win the nomination.
“We are not only taking on the corporate establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment,” he said to cheers. “You cannot beat Trump with the same old, same old, kind of politics. What we need is a new politics that brings working-class people into our political movement.”
Sanders also took shots at rivals former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
“If it comes out to be a campaign in which we have one candidate who is standing up for the working class and the middle class, we’re going to win that election,” he said.
“And if we have another candidate who has received contributions from at least 60 billionaires, we’re going to win that election. And and if there is another candidate in the race who is spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, we’re going to tell him, ‘In America, you cannot buy elections.’”
Watch: California primary analysis
Joe Biden brings the energy to L.A. in big showing on Super Tuesday
A joyful and energized Joe Biden took the stage in a Baldwin Hills park in Los Angeles, telling hundreds of supporters, “It’s a good night, and it seems to be getting even better. They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing.”
Biden lambasted his critics and the news media for writing him off after poor performances in the first three contests, before he ran away with the vote in South Carolina after a decisive endorsement from Rep. James E. Clyburn.
“I am here to report we are very much alive, and make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing!” said Biden, who was at a near shout for much of his speech, in contrast to previous appearances over the past year when he has been much more of a soft-spoken, low-key presence.
Pivoting to a stump speech that lasted just over 10 minutes, Biden gave a preview of the issues he will undoubtedly highlight as he vies to outlast his top competitor, Bernie Sanders: “affordable and accessible” healthcare, lower drug prices, as well as a “promise” to cure illnesses including cancer and diabetes.
He also cited gun control, more affordable college and a recommitment to fighting climate change — in short, many of the same campaign planks as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, just more modest in reach.
But Biden had a much more incisive boast over one of Sanders’ electability arguments: turnout.
“People are talking about a revolution; we started a movement,” Biden said. “We increased turnout. Turnout turned out for us!”
A lesson in democracy and a very cool sticker
When asked why she voted for Bernie Sanders, Marissa Jaques pulled her youngest child forward and said: “Because of him. Even though he’s 5, we can start thinking ahead. And the idea of college for all is a wonderful, doable idea.”
Her boy, Tyson, who is Mexican Polynesian, proudly pointed to the “I Voted” sticker next to the superheroes on his T-shirt. His mother had explained the democratic process to him and his 9-year-old sister Monday night. The kindergartner insisted that she wait for him to finish school Tuesday afternoon so he could go to the polls and watch. “It’s cool,” he said, jumping off a bench outside a Fountain Valley community center.
Jaques, an office manager of a medical practice who lives in Garden Grove, said she also endorses Sanders’ push for universal healthcare. “How can you say it won’t work when it has worked in so many thriving countries?” she asked. “If we adopt his policy, that would relieve so much financial stress that we have while caring for our kids and the elderly. What are we waiting for?”
Jaques, 36, said she heard people complaining about long lines waiting to cast their ballots. “That to me is a plus because having lines means a bigger turnout. There’s absolutely no inconvenience.”
She said Tyson’s special treat for today is the vote sticker.
“No need for sweets. This is the reward.”
Bernie Sanders wins California
California, the marquee prize of the 14-state voting bonanza of Super Tuesday, has sided with Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to Associated Press projections.
Sanders was leading in early returns Tuesday night, but the question remains if his competitors will also lay claim to some portion of the state’s trove of 415 delegates.
The projection came immediately as the polls closed at 8 p.m., even as many voters remained in line, with widespread complaints of long lags in polling places. The Sanders campaign had filed a complaint asking for centers to remain open for additional hours to accommodate the delays.
California polls set to close at 8 p.m.
California polls were set to close Tuesday at 8 p.m., opening the arduous process of ballot counting that could last for weeks in the nation’s biggest Democratic presidential primary.
But before the polls closed, the Sanders campaign filed an emergency request to keep L.A. County polls open until 10 p.m., citing reports of long lines and some voting problems. By law, those waiting in line at 8 p.m. must be allowed to vote, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
By late Tuesday night, it could become clear who won most races on the California ballot, including the presidential contest.
But in close races, it could take days or weeks to determine the outcome. The delegate allocation in the Democratic presidential primary could also take as long as 30 days to finalize.
“In California we’d rather get it right than get it fast,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.
Not all the ballots are in. By law, those mailed to county elections officials that are postmarked by Tuesday and received by Friday must be counted.
California was the last of 14 states to close polling stations in the Super Tuesday primaries.
Joe Biden wins Massachusetts
VOTER VOICES: ‘Tío Bernie is for the working class’
Election day may as well have been Christmas Eve for Santa Clarita resident Karen Cazares.
The 54-year-old San Jose native of Puerto Rican descent announced on Twitter she and her family had all voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders. Cazares cast her ballot at a Santa Clarita elementary school, but shared photos of her husband, 56-year-old Fernando, and her two sons donning Bernie shirts.
“One of the inaccuracies you see out there is this ‘Bernie bro’ thing that says all of Bernie’s supporters are white males,” Cazares said. “Look at my family. I’m Puerto Rican, my husband is Mexican and our boys are Mexiricans. There’s your diversity, the same diversity you’ll see at any rally.”
Cazares, who voted for Obama-Biden in 2008 and 2012 and Sanders in 2016 in the primaries before voting for Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections, says she was introduced to Sanders by her son, Fernando Jr.
“When you do the research, you see that ‘Tío Bernie’ is for the working class, for healthcare, for taxing billionaires, for standing up for the American people,” Cazares said. “People get hung up on the ‘socialist’ thing, but he’s fighting for what we believe in.”
Cazares has been to two Sanders rallies in the last 18 months and estimates about a dozen family members will vote for him.
“He talks about the diversity and change we’ve been talking about in our community for years,” she said. “This isn’t a rushed decision. We’ve had this conversation for years.”
Boyle Heights resident Aaron Alvarez took to Twitter as well to announce he had voted for Sanders.
“His voter outreach with the Latino community is second to none,” Alvarez wrote in a direct message. “His commitment to helping the lower classes and our communities speaks to me and many other Chicanos.”
Alvarez, a freelance illustrator/artist, pointed to the expansion of “Medicare for all” as being very important to him.
“He’s the only candidate to go all-in for it; I cannot help but give him my vote,” Alvarez, 29, said. “He is also the only candidate who has vowed to abolish ICE, where others would only ‘fix’ it. These things and more matter to me and to the greater community.”
Bernie Sanders wins Utah
VOTER VOICES: ‘That was amazing.’ Voters make their choices on their phones to speed up the process
With an hour’s wait, friends Gloria Rojas, 32, and Vanessa Ramirez, 24, scrolled through their Democratic ballots on their phones while waiting in line Tuesday afternoon at Cal State Los Angeles’ on-campus vote center.
“That was amazing,” Rojas said of being able to access her ballot on her phone and finalizing the process once she got to a booth.
The graduate students, who are majoring in psychology, said they both voted for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Rojas said she’s donated more to his campaign this time around than when he ran in 2016, usually in $2.70 increments and a few dollars more when she can spare it.
“It’s never extra, it’s just doable,” she said. By giving to his campaign when she can, she added, it shows her children that that’s how they support what they believe in.
Ramirez, a West Covina resident, acknowledged that by supporting Sanders, the process of seeing change in the government is “only the first part.”
“It’s like a marathon,” she said.
And who wants a safe bet anyway, Rojas said, when their generation is looking for progressive change on issues they care about?
“If you really want to see change, why go with who’s safe?” she said, referencing moderate candidate former Vice President Joe Biden. “For a lot of us here who are affected by these policies, we don’t need a safe bet.”
Together they climbed up the stairs of King Hall to go to their next class, and they stopped to pose with a photo of a young Sanders being arrested at a protest. It had been on the wall for years, they said, since before they were undergrads at Cal State.
VOTER VOICES: ‘Old baggage’? Sure. But you have to be pragmatic
Michael Imhof, a 41-year-old environmental scientist who lives in Homewood, Ala., said he favored Elizabeth Warren and thought she was a genius. But after a long phone conversation Monday night with a friend who is a political scientist, he decided that voting for her would be a mistake.
“He persuaded me that a vote for Warren would basically be a vote for Trump,” he said. “As much as I like her, she won’t pull centrist voters.”
And so Imhof, a former anarchist who described himself as a democratic socialist at heart, found himself at the polling station Tuesday planning to vote for a candidate whom he described as “old baggage” and “too centrist.”
The system, he said, worked on compromise. And so he voted for former Vice President Joe Biden.
“We need to beat Trump,” he said. “We’re seeing telltale signs of Germany in the 1930s.”
VOTER VOICES: From suburban Houston
As he walked up to the suburban Houston library that serves as his polling place, Vijay Shah caught sight of a man in a red and white Trump shirt.
“I wanted to tell him that he’s a baboon,” Shah said.
Instead, he went inside and voted for a Democrat.
Surrounding Fort Bend County is the largest in the country and among the most diverse, 65% minority. But it’s still largely Republican, in part because Democrats have struggled to win over Asian American immigrants.
Shah, 72, a retired computer systems worker, said he wasn’t initially sure which Democrat to vote for — just that he really wanted to get rid of President Trump. His choice came down to former Vice President Joe Biden or former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He decided Biden was “more of a politician,” telling people what they want to hear. Shah had lived in New York City while Bloomberg was mayor, liked his style and ultimately voted for him.
“He’s a good manager and he can work with the other party,” Shah said.
VOTER VOICES: At the Ace Hotel
Stephanie Leiter, a 60-year-old real estate attorney, briefly flirted with the idea of casting her ballot for Michael R. Bloomberg. But her post-college-age children, who are both Bernie Sanders supporters, weren’t having it.
“They were very disturbed,” she said. Leiter was standing outside the Ace Hotel downtown, where the line to vote snaked in through the building, across the Art Deco lobby, and up two flights of stairs before reaching the official voting center.
Leiter said she had been “taken in” by all the ads.
“How could you do that? Are you crazy?” She recalled her children asking her. So she too joined the Bernie brigade.
“Sometimes you raise them so well and they end up teaching you, huh?” said the woman behind Leiter in line, who was sipping an iced coffee and declined to say which candidate she was supporting.
“I decided that I needed to stop thinking about who was most electable and just vote my conscience,” Leiter said.
Dani Cardillo, a 40-year-old with a bleached-blonde mohawk and a “queer” pin affixed to her jean jacket, stood just ahead of Leiter in line.
Cardillo, who works in tech at Netflix, said she would be supporting Elizabeth Warren.
Why? “Well, it’s about time we had a lady in that building,” she said, jokingly putting her hands on her hips as she spoke. But for Cardillo, voting for Warren was about more than just gender. She said agrees with all her stances, and admires her myriad plans.
She said she “unfortunately” didn’t think Warren would win the state, but that wouldn’t change her voting plans.
“I just really believe in her,” she said. “I believe that’s the right thing — if you believe in someone, you stand by them.”
VOTER VOICES: ‘Right person for the right time’
Habib Hussein wasn’t bothered by his 30-minute wait to cast his ballot in Culver City; he was anticipating an even longer line, and besides, he said, that’s part of the fun of going in person to the polls.
“I wanted to get the good feeling of voting,” Hussein said.The 30-year-old airport shuttle driver said he had that feeling after picking Bernie Sanders, whom he also supported in 2016.
“He speaks to a lot of people’s minds, especially young people, people having a hard time paying rent,” he said.
He also admired Sanders’ foreign policy views, which he said were not influenced by groups like AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying organization.
“I think he’s the right person for the right time,” he said.
Mike Feuer: Early voting in California might have hurt Joe Biden
Joe Biden supporter and Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer has a regret about the former vice president’s otherwise strong performance on Super Tuesday: early voting in California.
“Obviously it would have been better had there been no early voting in California, because then tonight he would have an extraordinary chance to win,” Feuer said in an interview in a Baldwin Hills park in Los Angeles, where Biden supporters were gathering for an evening rally with the candidate.
“As it is, there’s been early voting; a lot of those votes have gone to candidates who have since dropped out,” Feuer said. “Still, I think he’s going to be very competitive tonight here. I think he’s going to do very well with voters who voted today.”
Feuer clarified that he thinks “there is value in having early voting; it’s a much longer, complicated conversation. But it just happens that tonight early voting in California will inure to [Vermont Sen. Bernie] Sanders’ benefit in part because early voters who might have been Biden voters voted for somebody else. But I think the vice president will survive that.”
VOTER VOICES: ‘I ...want to go with my gut, and Bernie’s my gut.’
For Trisha Zaldivar, 53, the new voting system was a quick and easier experience than in the past, she said as she left the 31st District PTSA office in Lake Balboa Tuesday. For her daughter Maya Zaldivar, 19, it was the only system she’s known.
The San Fernando Valley residents voted for different presidential candidates, their ballots representative of what some say is generational divide in the Democratic Party.
Maya cast her first vote ever for Bernie Sanders. “He’s just, he’s honest and I like that. ... you can’t dig up dirt on Bernie because there is none,” the L.A. Valley college music student said, an “I voted” sticker affixed above the rainbow and unicorn on her t-shirt.
“True,” her mom agreed, though she voted for former Vice President Joe Biden.
“If I thought Bernie could beat Trump, I voted for Bernie,” Trisha said. But she was a supporter of the Obama administration, and Biden seemed like a potential winner.
That fleeting thought caused Maya to pause before voting, too, she said. “I think personally that Bernie is the best candidate and I don’t want to be like, ‘Oh well this is more realistic.’ I ...want to go with my gut, and Bernie’s my gut.”
“Good for you,” her mom said. “I’m proud of you. I’m very proud of you.”
Joe Biden wins Arkansas
Joe Biden wins Minnesota
Joe Biden wins Tennessee
VOTER VOICES: ‘I’m a young professional with $200,000 in loan debt’
“I love everything about [Elizabeth] Warren. She has progressive ideas I care about,” said Viet Thai Phan, a 32-year-old municipal attorney from Santa Ana. “I’m a young professional with $200,000 in loan debt.”
She says even if she was not eligible for the Massachusetts senator’s plan to forgive student loans, she would agree with the idea. “It’s the right thing to do.”
She loves Warren’s proposals to tax the ultra-wealthy and says that “she has amazing platforms for people of color.”
VOTER VOICES: Voting for Warren with a toddler in tow
Brynn Jones, 33, towed her 19-month-old daughter, Lennon, to a downtown Sacramento vote center in a red Radio Flyer wagon. The medical social worker dropped off her ballot and said she voted for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“I feel like she has the most thorough and laid out policies — just across the board,” said Jones of Sacramento. “I pretty much align very closely with everything she’s rolled out.”
Remnants of chocolate chip cookies that Jones used to bribe her daughter to make the trip stuck out of the corner of the toddler’s mouth. Jones said she wanted to set a good example about voting for Lennon, whose pink sunglasses matched a bow in her hair.
“I’m just hoping that we start young with her and get her to see how important it is,” Jones said.
VOTER VOICES: L.A. County supervisor’s race
The presidential campaign is the marquee race today, but Lisa Marie Desai was most motivated by more local matters: the L.A. County supervisor’s race in the 2nd District, in which she is backing state Sen. Holly Mitchell.
The Culver City-based stenographer’s pick at the top of the ticket: Elizabeth Warren, even though she acknowledged her candidate’s uphill climb.
“If Bernie wins, I will totally make calls and get on board,” said Desai, 37, “but I want a woman and I love her policies. She’s just like a younger Bernie — a younger, female Bernie.”
Some voters drop Jackie Lacey after her husband’s confrontation with protesters
The confrontation on Monday morning between Jackie Lacey’s husband and Black Lives Matter protesters was fresh in the minds of many voters. Video from the scene showed Lacey’s husband, David, pointing a gun at unarmed protesters gathered outside the couple’s home and threatening to shoot them.
During Tuesday’s police commission meeting, Black Lives Matter organizer Tabatha Jones Jolivet asked LAPD Chief Michel Moore during a public comment period why the department had not arrested Lacey’s husband.
“Why, Chief Moore, have you not arrested David Lacey?” she demanded, speaking over the voice of the president of the commission, who interjected to tell her she wasn’t addressing the appropriate agenda item.
Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter organizer and Cal State L.A. professor who said she was one of three people at whom the gun was pointed, ran into multiple people at a voting center on Tuesday who said that the confrontation had affected their vote.
Two of her neighbors told her that they had been undecided about Lacey, but that the confrontation solidified their vote for candidate Rachel Rossi.
“I think it did have a negative impact on her campaign,” said Abdullah, who declined to share which candidate she was supporting.
The district attorney’s gun-wielding husband added a new twist to the campaign. But her family had reason to be frustrated too.
Joe Biden wins Oklahoma
VOTER VOICES: Visitors see democracy in action. ‘I wish I could have this privilege in my lifetime’
At the Fountain Valley Community Center, on the edge of Orange County’s Little Saigon, two tourists from Vietnam accompanied a family member to the polling station to witness what they called “basic democracy.”
Larry Nguyen, 34, had left suburban Hanoi to scout for trade business in Los Angeles and had not heard of Super Tuesday or known of its significance. “It’s great that the freedom America allows its citizens and to see citizens taking advantage of it. We, of course, don’t have that where we come from, and that’s what makes us realize again why the USA is the best,” said the visitor, heading to Santa Ana next.
He asked not to be photographed, fearing discipline for his sentiment upon returning to Vietnam. “I wish I could have this privilege in my lifetime — to actually watch a debate even in person.”
Visitor Vinh Nguyen, 39, also marveled at the concept of “a pre-election before the real election. Imagine learning more about multiple political parties and having your choice of candidates. That is ideal.”
VOTER VOICES: Placer County contractor whipsawed by Trump, Newsom policies
Disabled veteran Greg Clark thought this would be the election he switched from Republican to Democrat. The Rocklin (Placer County) resident said he was “not happy with all the BS Trump is doing.”
But then California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law written by a Democratic lawmaker that caused him to lose his job, he said.
Clark worked as an independent contractor doling out food samples at Costco and Sam’s Club before a law limiting the use of such workers was signed last year. Clark is now helping gather signatures to change Assembly Bill 5 through a ballot measure largely funded by the app-based companies Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, whose drivers were required to be reclassified as employees under the law.
“This law was signed by our Democratic governor, and that honestly changed how I voted in the presidential race,” Clark, 60, said. “I was considering Bernie.”
Standing outside the Placer County Elections Office’s warehouse in Rocklin, which served as a polling place, Clark gathered signatures for various other ballot measures. For some measures, he is being paid $1 per signature, which he says gives him a little gas money and keeps him active in the community.
“There has been a steady crowd today,” Clark said of the polling place. “It was busier this morning and will pick up again after work.”
Bernie Sanders wins Colorado
Joe Biden supporters soak in early primary victories ahead of rally in Baldwin Hills
While waiting in line to see Joe Biden speak later Tuesday evening at a Baldwin Hills park, dozens of his supporters were feeling the magic they knew had been missing from his candidacy for much of the campaign.
“The momentum has changed in his favor,” said Jose Marroquin, a 67-year-old retiree from Los Angeles who had decided he was supporting Biden as soon as the former vice president entered the race. “I am actually thinking that the tide has turned.”
James Morgan, a 79-year-old retiree from Los Angeles, had also supported Biden’s candidacy from the beginning, citing his experience in the Obama administration.
“Once he said he was running, I said, ‘That’s my man right there,’ ” Morgan said while waiting in line.
At the same time, Morgan admitted that he had been “skeptical from the beginning” after seeing Biden repeatedly battered in the early months of the campaign.
“Where’s the fight?” Morgan recalled wondering then. “He should be fired up.”
But after a strong debate and a decisive victory in South Carolina on Saturday, “I feel that he’s got the flow back on,” Morgan said.
In recent appearances, “it looked like he had a bit more energy,” and Morgan feels “pretty good about his chances right now.”
Dana Douglas, a 64-year-old attorney from Claremont, had been deciding among Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., until recently.
“I held onto my ballot for a long time,” said Douglas, who votes by mail. But after Warren and Buttigieg failed to show enough strength with a broad swath of the party, Douglas mailed in her ballot for Biden, thinking that “he had the best chance to get the nomination, and I’m certain he can beat Trump like a bad piece of meat.”
Her decision was only validated by Biden’s command performance in South Carolina. While she stood in line, she was following his strong showings in the East Coast Super Tuesday states — including the home state of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Biden’s current top competitor.
“He appears to beat the 15% threshold in Vermont, and he’s going to take some of Bernie Sanders’ delegates there, which thrills me,” Douglas said, adding: “I’m very excited about where we’re at.”
VOTER VOICES: Vietnam vet says process was ‘as easy as pie’
At the Drake Park voting center in Long Beach, there was no line to vote Tuesday morning. A few voters stood behind voting stations at a time, and at least a dozen volunteers were available to help them with the new system.
Donald Davison, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran, said he read a few articles about the new voting system before coming out to vote Tuesday, and expected the worst.
He put the negative articles about potential problems out of his mind, and when he walked out of the voting center, he proudly wore his voting sticker on his veteran vest. “It was as easy as pie,” he said.
“You always read the negative stuff first,” he said. “It arouses questions for me. ... That’s what keeps people from doing what they’re supposed to be doing: fear.”
Davison recalled being a teenager in Louisiana in the ‘60s and going to door-to-door encouraging his black neighbors to vote. “To see it come from how it was in the ‘60s and how it is now, it’s just so simple. It’s been a big change.”
VOTER VOICES: ‘Everyone, at some point, will need a hand’
In the moments after Daniel Trollinger cast his vote for Bernie Sanders, his mind jumped back to that day from 20 years ago.
He was in his late 30s and he had built a life that felt stable — a wife, two kids, a job he enjoyed as an audio engineer. Then, while sitting at a red light one day in 2000, a school bus rammed into his car. In the years ahead, Trollinger said, he was rear-ended two more times and ended up in a wheelchair.
By the end of it all — the hospitalizations, four back surgeries, getting laid off — his family had gone bankrupt. They struggled to pay for health insurance, and once, during a two-month stint when they had no coverage, his daughter fell and hurt her wrist. The bills snowballed. Even now, two decades later, Trollinger, 58, of Santa Clarita, still owes more than $150,000 in hospital bills.
“I was anybody,” Trollinger says, his chin quivering slightly. “Anybody just sitting at that red light.”
The Affordable Care Act was a godsend for his family, Trollinger said, and now he’d like to see the country move toward “Medicare for all,” which Vermont Sen. Sanders has said he will implement. Republicans have done a good job of painting socialism as a terrible thing, Trollinger says, but that’s not how he sees things. Not when he thinks about that day at the red light.
“Everyone, at some point,” he said, “will need a hand.”
VOTER VOICES: Long Beach retiree says ballot process was ‘so easy’
Ruth Uffer, a 73-year-old retired registered nurse from Long Beach, said she found her voting experience “phenomenal.”
“Last time I came, the line was all the way around. The whole process is so easy.”
She said she liked that some voting centers were open for 24 hours, making it accessible to those with night jobs.
Uffer said she is unsure about whether other states have made similar changes, but that at least California has made a huge difference in doing the most to improve voter turnout.
“We’re at least making every effort to give people the opportunity to go out and vote,” she said.
As for the electronic tablet, she said she likes that “it’s user-friendly and the fact that you can review it again. You have lots of time to visually review it and you can see it again on paper. It’s very efficient,” Uffer said.
Uffer said she looked forward to telling her friends and neighbors about the experience in hopes it’ll motivate them to vote as well.
The retired nurse said she read up on all the measures and candidates on the ballot. As a homeowner, she felt concerned about certain measures that would raise taxes, since she is on a fixed income.
“Already, people cannot afford to live,” she said.
As for her preference for president, she narrowed it down to Michael R. Bloomberg and Joe Biden before coming to vote. She decided on Biden, for his experience and familiarity, she said.
“I became familiar with him during the Obama administration. I never saw him be reckless. He was a good diplomat. He’s been in politics a long time, so he understands politics.”
Five takeaways from Super Tuesday — so far
WASHINGTON — Got whiplash yet? The Democratic presidential race abruptly compressed Tuesday from a muddled mess of multiple candidates to a classic contest between an old-guard liberal and a lefty insurgent.
Whether former Vice President Joe Biden’s surge was timely enough and potent enough to keep rival Bernie Sanders from gaining an insurmountable lead toward the nomination will be much clearer when California finishes counting its votes. And that could take a while. But Biden was well on his way as first results came in and he notched decisive victories in three big Southern states: Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia.
Those newcomer pragmatists who once hoped to go the distance? They are background noise. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke all dropped out of the race and are urging Democrats to back Biden.
So what are the top takeaways from Super Tuesday, the biggest day on the Democrats’ primary calendar?
The establishment strikes back
Bernie keeps booming
Half a billion dollars for … what?
Warren won’t give up the war
Gliding toward melee in Milwaukee
VOTER VOICES: A Bernie Sanders / Joe Biden ticket?
“I go by my feelings and intuition and they tell me Bernie, even though I worry about his age,” Ann Lake, 80, said of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders before dropping off her ballot at the Brookfield Manor clubhouse in Huntington Beach.
The retired bank checker likes former Vice President Joe Biden too and hopes Sanders would pick him as vice president. “He’s been there so he knows what to do.”