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Super Tuesday preview: It's a two-man race between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, but who will seize the moment?


It's biggest night of the 2020 Democratic primary

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the 2020 Democratic primary campaign.

Voters from 14 states are set to cast ballots for their favorite Democratic candidate with 1,357 pledged delegates on the line — about one-third of the total count. To put things into perspective, only 155 delegates, or less than 4% of the total, have been awarded so far in the race.

Needless to say, Tuesday night's results will go a long way in determining who will be the party's nominee heading into the general election against President Trump later this year.

What are the details?

In addition to Democrats abroad category and the American Samoa, the states up for grabs are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

The biggest delegate prize is California, boasting 415 delegates, which is more than the nine Super Tuesday contests with the lowest delegate totals combined. Next up is Texas, which has 228 delegates up for grabs.

After that comes North Carolina (110), Virginia (99), Massachusetts (91), and Minnesota (75).

The states set to vote are all over the map and the voter demographic is likely to be diverse. In the biggest nominating contests — California and Texas — minority voter such as Latinos and blacks are expected to play a major role. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has done well among Latinos thus far in the race, while former Vice President Joe Biden has won the black vote.

It's a two-man race

All indicators coming into Tuesday night point to a two-man race between Sanders and Biden. The latest polls shows the two candidates competing for the top spot in every state except Massachusetts, where the home-state candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), holds a slight edge.

Sanders, who draws support from the progressive wing of the party, is considered the front-runner. He started off the election cycle strong with top finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada and has built a strong organization in many of the Super Tuesday states. Sanders has also outpaced his opponents in campaign fundraising.

But Biden's decisive win in South Carolina, along with a recent string of dropouts and endorsements, has catapulted him back into the race. The more moderate candidate will look to capitalize on a less-crowded field and position himself as the only viable alternative to Sanders.

As it stands, according to the RealClearPolitics polling averages, Sanders is enjoying a comfortable 12-point lead in California but only has a narrow 1.5-point lead on Biden in Texas. The latest Texas poll, conducted by Data for Progress, shows Biden slightly ahead of Sanders.

Sanders is also enjoying leads in northeastern and western states: Minnesota, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, and Utah. Biden, on the other hand, is up in southern and midwestern states: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Anything else?

The other candidates still in the race — former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — will look for surprise finishes Tuesday to boost their campaigns.

As a progressive who likely shares supporters with Sanders, Warren is running on fumes. The Massachusetts senator is hoping that a win in her home state and strong finishes elsewhere could reignite her campaign.

Bloomberg, who has not yet been on the ballot for any primary contests, has quite literally been banking his chances on Super Tuesday. The billionaire has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertisements in Super Tuesday states. As the field of candidates trims down, Bloomberg hopes his money will give him staying power.

Ahead of the voting Tuesday, Bloomberg said at a news conference that he plans to remain in the race and force a contested convention:

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