Sanders leads comfortably in California primary

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders's main competitor is Joe Biden. ― Reuters pic
Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders's main competitor is Joe Biden. ― Reuters pic

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LOS ANGELES, March 4 — Bernie Sanders was leading comfortably in California one day after the Democratic Super Tuesday primaries, as US media cautiously refrained from declaring him winner in the state with the largest delegate count.

With approximately 80 per cent of precincts reporting, the Vermont senator was ahead with 33 per cent of votes against 24 per cent for former vice president Joe Biden, who represents the more moderate wing of the party.

A victory would allow Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, to engage in a drawn-out campaign with Biden, who reaped an electoral bonanza, winning in a majority of the 14 states that voted yesterday.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who invested a record US$500 million (RM2.1 billion) from his personal fortune in advertising, is teetering on the edge of the 15 per cent threshold necessary to obtain delegates. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, fell well below the cutoff.

Despite Sanders’ lead in California, which is the country’s most populous state and a bastion of the American left, most media did not call the race.

Californians could vote by mail until yesterday, and their incoming ballots could narrow the gap, particularly if they decided to vote after Biden began gaining speed with a landslide win in South Carolina on Saturday and the endorsements of his two former rivals, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

In the 2016 Democratic primary, it took nearly a month to count all ballots in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, with the gap in favor of the former narrowing significantly. — AFP

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