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Biden declared winner in Virginia moments after polls closed

The former Vice President won 53 percent of the vote statewide
Posted at 12:22 AM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 13:36:12-05

RICHMOND, Va - As former Vice President Joe Biden scored a decisive victory in Virginia’s Democratic primary, Richmond Democrats, many of whom did not vote for him, said they made their final call on who to vote for in final few days leading up to Super Tuesday.

At Soul Taco in downtown Richmond, the Richmond Democratic Committee hosted dozens of voters and activists to watch the Super Tuesday results roll in. After a spicy primary season, filled with intra-party fighting, Virginia voters waited only moments after the polls close to see Biden declared victorious in the Commonwealth

The former Vice President won 53 percent of the vote statewide, according to unofficial results by the Virginia Department of Elections. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won 23 percent of the vote statewide.

“I think that competition during the primary process makes our ultimate candidate stronger in the general election,” said Christie Bieber supported Elizabeth Warren. “I ultimately voted for Elizabeth Warren because I’m ready to see a woman in the White House, but I’m happy that Joe Biden did really well.”

Bieber said she only finally made up her mind earlier in the day Tuesday.

“This year I was literally undecided, but until Friday,” said Rhonda Gilmer, who said she decided to vote for Biden just prior to the South Carolina primary. “I just think that he’ll be a positive light for folks like me. The fact that he’s gained the momentum he has, I just really want to rally behind him.”

In Virginia, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren won around 11 percent of the vote and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg garnered less than nine percent statewide. Since neither reached the 15 percent threshold needed to secure Virginia delegates at the national convention in July.

Voter turnout in Virginia was higher in this year’s primary than in 2016, or any year in modern Virginia history.

More than 1.3 million Virginians cast ballots in Tuesday’s Democratic primary statewide, according to unofficial results, marking a record turnout for any primary in modern Virginia history,according data from the Virginia Department of Elections. In 2016, 785,190 votes were cast a primary race that boiled down to Sanders versus Hillary Clinton, who won Virginia handily.

This year Biden outperformed Clinton, securing 704,541 votes statewide to Clinton’s 504,791 in 2016. Sanders out performed his vote totals statewide compared to 2016 (305,493 to 276,387).

In Central Virginia, populous suburban counties like Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover posted similar candidate percentages to the statewide numbers, although the total number of ballots cast in Hanover was much lower.

Biden overwhelmingly won Petersburg, with more than 73% of the vote. Sanders performed better than his statewide percentages in the city of Richmond, but still lost to Biden 44% to 34%.

While Biden and Sanders are expected to battle for the party nomination post Super Tuesday, Virginia Republican said Biden will ultimately lose to President Trump in November, citing low unemployment numbers of minorities and women under the Trump administration.

“Biden and the rest of the Democrats want to destroy all of the accomplishments this administration has made, but we won't let that happen. We made America great again in 2016 and we're going to keep it great in 2020,” said Jack Wilson, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Richmond Democrats at Soul Taco said they plan to unify behind whoever represents their party in November.

“It’s going to get messy, I got a feeling it’s going to be messy,” Gilmer said of the next few months.

“I think post July we just need to unite around one candidate and make sure we’re there to beat Trump and reverse some of these policies that have not just been detrimental to the United States but the world,” said Adele McClure.