Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to win the Florida Democratic primary.
Voting in Florida and two other states was underway today amid growing coronavirus concerns and CDC guidelines about social distancing. Arizona and Illinois are also up for grabs tonight, while Ohio postponed the primary over those coronavirus concerns.
Per MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, turnout tonight in Florida is expected to be greater than in 2016.
Our decision desk expects turnout for the Florida Dem primary will end up around 2.25 million. In 2016, it was 1.7 million.
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) March 17, 2020
The high turnout was noted by Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando-area congressman who endorsed Biden.
“Biden won big as expected,” Soto told Mediaite, but “the bigger story is the 32% increase in Florida Democratic turnout from 2016, like many other states so far.”
“Biden’s big blue wave continues across the nation,” concluded Soto.
Steve Schale, a longtime Florida Democrat operative who currently serves as the Executive Director of Unite the Country, a pro-Biden SuperPAC, shared Soto’s confidence in Biden’s chances.
“Tonight’s results have made it clear: Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for President, and has done so by building the kind of coalition that looks like America, and the kind of coalition that can propel him to a win in November,” said Schale.
As Politico’s Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout noted, neither Biden nor Sanders campaigned heavily in Florida or spent major television ad money, but Biden did sweep the major Florida Democratic endorsements, winning the support of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation.
Biden also won a key endorsement from Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Reached for comment Tuesday evening, Fried praised Biden’s “decisive victory” as one that “proves that he can bring together a broad, diverse coalition that will unite Americans.”
“Floridians of all ages, races, and backgrounds united together in support of Joe’s steadfast leadership, which we need now in difficult times more than ever,” she added.
This article has been updated with additional quotes.
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