Biden scores big wins in Florida and Illinois primaries blighted by coronavirus

WION Web Team
Miami, United StatesUpdated: Mar 18, 2020, 09:07 AM IST
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File Photo of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Photograph:(Agencies)

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The 77-year-old led 62 per cent to 23 per cent against his competitor Bernie Sanders, a 78-year-old senator from Vermont.

Joe Biden cemented his status as the likely Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday after defeating Bernie Sanders, 78, in Florida and Illinois on a coronavirus-hit primary night.

Biden has now crossed the halfway point in terms of earning a majority of delegates needed to become the nominee, post the string of victories in high-profile contests and his show of strength on Tuesday.

The 77-year-old led 62 per cent to 23 per cent against his competitor Senator Bernie Sanders.

In Illinois, Biden was ahead 59 per cent to 36 per cent.

"Our campaign has had a very good night. We've moved closer to securing the Democratic Party's nomination for president, and we're doing it by building a broad coalition that we need to win in November," said Biden.

Biden has long said that Americans do not want Sanders's political "revolution," they want "results". But he extended an olive branch Tuesday by appealing to Sanders supporters.

"To young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders ''I hear you,'" Biden said.

Biden said he and Sanders "share a common vision" to expand health insurance, address economic inequality and fight climate change.

Americans were also voting in Arizona. Biden has led in polling there and is expected to do well, according to poll experts.

A Biden victory would leave Sanders a gravely wounded candidate, having largely failed to reverse his fortunes after losing 18 of the last 23 contests.

Sanders delivered a 20-minute speech online on Tuesday focusing on addressing the coronavirus crisis, including injecting $2 trillion in funding to prevent deaths and "avoid an economic catastrophe."

On Tuesday Biden's delegate count stood at 1,121 compared to Sanders's 839.

A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination and face President Donald Trump in November's election.