Continuing his roll, Biden beats Sanders to win Idaho Democratic presidential primary
Ximena Bustillo, Idaho Statesman
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Joe Biden scored a somewhat surprising victory Tuesday night in Idaho’s Democratic presidential primary, part of another winning night for the former vice president, who is now a strong front-runner against Sen. Bernie Sanders.
This was the first year that Idaho Democrats voted at the polls in a primary as opposed to caucusing — in 2016, Sanders dominated in the caucus against Hillary Clinton. He seemed to have strong support in the state again, but with more than 94 percent of precincts reporting, Biden had 49 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 42.5 percent, a lead of more than 6,000 votes. The Associated Press called the race for Biden just before 11 p.m. Mountain time.
With 100% of precincts reporting in Ada County, Biden edged Sanders, 22,704 votes to 21,361. In neighboring Canyon County, Sanders scored the close win, 2,664-2,472. Canyon was one of just five counties that Sanders won.
Idaho, with 20 delegates at stake, was one of the last states to report Tuesday night, with precincts in the northern part of the state not closing till 9 p.m. Mountain time. Biden’s win in the Gem State followed victories in Mississippi, Missouri, Montana and the state with the day’s largest delegate count: Michigan.
Sanders, who won Idaho in 2016 with a whopping 78%, declared victory in North Dakota. The two were locked in a very tight race in Washington state, with Sanders holding a narrow lead.
In a speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday night, Biden extended an olive branch to Sanders and talked about uniting the party.
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless passion,” Biden said. “We share a common goal and together we’ll defeat Donald Trump.”
Biden’s campaign in Idaho sent out a press release over the weekend touting more than 30 endorsements from many prominent Democrats, including former U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick; former Boise Mayor Dave Bieter; state Reps. Cherie Buckner-Webb and John McCrostie; state Sens. Grant Burgoyne and Janie Ward-Engelking; and Boise City Council members TJ Thomson, Elaine Clegg and Patrick Bageant.
In order to receive an official nomination, a candidate must total 1,991 delegates. Biden had 823 delegates as of late Tuesday night, while Sanders had 663.
Next Tuesday’s primaries offer major prizes, with Florida, Illinois and Ohio voting, as well as Arizona. Polls show Biden with sizable leads in Florida and Ohio.