FORMER Vice President Joe Biden has won nine of the 14 states that voted to pick a Democratic presidential candidate in Super Tuesday, a remarkable rebound for his campaign.
He overturned predictions to narrowly take the key state of Texas from his main challenger, Bernie Sanders, although Sanders is projected to win California – the biggest prize of the night – as well as three other states.
They lead the race to face Republican President Donald Trump in November.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg spent more than $500m (£390m) on his campaign, but he did not win a single state. He has thrown in the towel and endorsed Biden. Senator Elizabeth Warren, once the frontrunner in the race, suffered a humiliating defeat to Biden in her home state of Massachusetts. She is expected to withdraw fro the race soon.
Super Tuesday awards more than 1,300 of the 1,991 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic White House nomination in July.
At the last ballot, Biden has 527 delegates and Sanders 425. However, results from California, which has 415 delegates, could affect the current standing.
Only last month, Biden’s campaign was all but written off by some observers after he finished a poor fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary.
But on Tuesday, Biden won Texas – the second biggest state with 228 delegates – along with Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.
Maine, which has 24 delegates, is also yet to declare but partial results put Biden slightly ahead of Sanders.
Virginia and North Carolina are crucial because they are key swing states in the 2020 election.
Exit polls across the board suggested Biden – who was vice-president to Barack Obama – attracted large majorities of African-American voters, a crucial bloc for the Democratic party.
Biden, 77, also appears to have won among the type of suburban voters who pollsters say have been turning away from the current US president.
“We are very much alive,” Biden told a crowd in Los Angeles. “Make no mistake about it, this campaign will send Donald Trump packing.”
Sanders won California, scoring 34 % to Biden’s 25%, just a marginal lead for the 415 delegates that the Golden State sends to the party convention.
The left-wing senator also won his home state of Vermont, along with Colorado and Utah.
Sanders had been heavily favoured to win Texas, but it was finally claimed by Biden.
In a victory speech, Sanders lambasted Trump, but also took a shot at Biden.
“We’re taking on the political establishment,” he said. “You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old kind of politics.”
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