After collecting early wins in a series of Super Tuesday states, former Vice President Joe Biden gave a spirited speech in Baldwin Hills Tuesday evening, proclaiming his campaign “very much alive,” but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared to be cruising to victory in California.
“It’s a good night. It’s a good night,” Biden told the enthusiastic crowd. “It seems to be getting even better. The don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing.”
Biden gave a rousing campaign speech, proclaiming victory in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts.
“It’s early but things are looking awful, awful good,” Biden said. “For those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign. Just a few days ago, the press and the pundits declared the campaign dead, and then came South Carolina, they had something to say about it. And we were told, well when we get to Super Tuesday, it’ll be over. Well it may be over for the other guy.”
Biden’s rally was tainted by a scary moment when a pair of anti-dairy protesters managed to climb onto stage, with one tussling briefly with Biden’s wife, Jill, before security descended on the pair and carried them away from the podium.
Biden briefly halted his speech during the commotion, then continued talking without making any reference to the disturbance.
“I’m here to report we are very much alive,” he said. “Make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing. This campaign is taking off.”
Multiple media outlets, including the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, quickly proclaimed Sanders the victor in the California primary, even before any results had been released. The projections were based on exit polling and surveys.
When early results were finally released, they showed Sanders leading the pack with 28% of the vote, followed by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Biden.
Sanders, speaking to supporters in Vermont, maintained his confidence, despite Biden’s seeming resurgence.
“Tonight I tell you with absolute confidence we are gonna win the Democratic nomination, and we are going to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country,” he said. “It is our campaign, our movement which is best positioned to defeat Trump. You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old kind of politics.”
In addition to his projected win in California, Sanders was also being declared the victor in Colorado, Utah and Vermont.
Biden, who criss-crossed the Los Angeles area Tuesday, is also scheduled to hold a fundraiser Wednesday at the Los Angeles-area home of former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing.
Following the South Carolina primary on Saturday, three Democrats suspended their presidential bids — former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Klobuchar and Buttigieg quickly threw their support behind Biden.
Biden also has some high-profile support in the Southland. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is a co-chair of Biden’s national campaign. Los Angeles’ two other citywide elected officials — Controller Ron Galperin and City Attorney Mike Feuer — are also backing Biden.
It also remained unclear, even with the recent narrowing of the field, if more than one or two candidates will be able to reach the 15% threshhold of the vote required in individual congressional districts to earn some of the state’s formidable 415 delegates.
If Sanders continues his strong showing, the 15% requirement could give the Vermont senator the upper hand in earning a majority of the state’s delegates.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom did not endorsed a candidate in the primary, although his wife is backing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and spoke at her rally Monday night at East Los Angeles College. Newsom was an early backer of his longtime political ally Sen. Kamala Harris, but she suspended her campaign in December.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn Tuesday morning issued a statement endorsing Biden for president.
“Joe Biden is a leader who can unify and heal our country at this unique moment in history. From delivering on the Affordable Care Act and Recovery and Reinvestment Act to helping negotiate the Paris Climate Accords — Joe Biden has delivered for working families across California and the country. While in Congress, I saw firsthand his unique ability to bring people together to solve problems. That’s why I know Joe will bring level headedness, decency, stability and common sense back to our government,” she said.