Biden was also declared the winner in Missouri and Mississippi, as he continued a winning streak that began 10 days ago in South Carolina. Speaking in Philadelphia, Biden sought to unite the Democratic Party as he looked toward the general election battle with President Trump.
“Tonight we are a step closer to restoring decency, dignity and honor to the White House,” he said. “That’s our goal.”
Biden also made a pitch to Sanders’ supporters, thanking them for “their tireless energy and for their passion.”
“We share a common goal, and together we’ll defeat Donald Trump,” he said. “We’ll defeat him together.”
Both Biden and Sanders were scheduled to speak at rallies in Cleveland on Tuesday evening, but the events were canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic. Sanders returned to his home in Burlington, Vt., and did not speak publicly on Tuesday night.
Primaries were held in six states, with Michigan seen as the key battleground. Sanders narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton there in 2016, and he had hoped to begin a comeback in 2020 with another win there. NBC and ABC projected Biden the winner in Michigan at about 9 p.m., about an hour after polls closed across most of the state.
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Sanders issued a statement earlier on Tuesday lamenting the long lines at the polls in Michigan, and urging voters to stay in line. Michigan has a new law allowing for same-day voter registration. Jocelyn Benson, the secretary of state, said the delays were caused by a flood of 13,000 new registrations, many of which came in after 4:30 p.m.
In Mississippi, exit polls showed Biden beating Sanders by 70 points among black voters, who make up about two-thirds of the state’s Democratic primary electorate.
Washington is also voting on Tuesday, in an all mail-in ballot election. Sanders won the Washington caucus in 2016 by a wide margin.
Hours after the first three states were called, Biden was declared the victor in Idaho — extending a good night for his campaign. Biden was beating Sanders there by about five points with 80% of the vote counted.
The races in Washington and North Dakota were still too close to call after 1 a.m. ET.
The cable news networks focused on an encounter Biden had during a factory visit in Detroit on Tuesday, in which an auto worker accused Biden of trying to take his gun away.
“You’re full of s—,” Biden told him. “I did not.”
“You’re working for me, man,” the worker said.
Biden shot back: “I’m not working for you, gimme a break, man. Don’t be such a horse’s a–.”
The two candidates are set to debate on Sunday in Phoenix. The Democratic National Committee announced on Tuesday that the debate will be held without a live audience, again due to the coronavirus. The debate will be co-hosted by CNN and Univision.