The Latest: Biden scores upset in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on Minnesota’s primary election Tuesday (all times local):
Joe Biden captured Minnesota’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, just a day after Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign and threw her support to the former vice president.
Biden had done little in Minnesota before Super Tuesday but clearly benefited from Klobuchar’s backing and that of fellow moderate Pete Buttegieg, who ended his campaign Sunday.
The effort by moderates to unify behind Biden denied front-runner Bernie Sanders a victory in Minnesota, where he won caucuses four years ago and enjoyed strong support from progressives again this cycle. Sanders had endorsements and campaign help from Rep. Ilhan Omar and state Attorney General Keith Ellison.
President Donald Trump had the Minnesota GOP primary ballot all to himself after party leaders decided not to list any Republican challengers. It was Minnesota’s first presidential primary since 1992 after decades of relying on precinct caucuses to indicate presidential preference.
Minnesota’s first presidential primary since 1992 is unfolding fairly smoothly in a spot check of the state’s large jurisdictions.
The city of Minneapolis and Ramsey County, home to St. Paul, report steady traffic at their polling places and no evident problems with lines. With only Democrats facing a contested ballot, any issues of lines or delays in voting would likely emerge in the liberal-dominated Twin Cities.
Comparing turnout to prior years is difficult since Minnesota used caucuses for its presidential preference for nearly 30 years. The state’s switch to early voting has also greatly expanded the number of people choosing that option.
Minneapolis elections communications coordinator Katie Lauer says the city is expecting turnout between 30% and 40%.
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office says a staff member displayed a “serious lapse in judgment” Tuesday by directing users of its voter information guide to a partisan website after the system crashed.
The state’s pollfinder portal is meant to help residents find out where to vote. When the system became overloaded on Tuesday morning, the webpage sent visitors to external sites that were not part of the backup plan, Secretary of State Steve Simon said.
One of the sites was boldprogressives.org, the Pioneer Press reported.
In case of technical issues, voters are supposed to be redirected to Google’s nonpartisan Voting Information Project, Simon said. The partisan link was active for about 17 minutes, he said.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I place the highest possible value on the nonpartisanship of this office, and I deeply regret the error,” Simon said.
Simon’s statement came after Republicans sharply criticized the partisan redirection.
Minnesota voters are making their voices heard in the presidential race as part of the Super Tuesday sweepstakes. A big question was where Amy Klobuchar’s voters will go after she dropped out just one day earlier.
Klobuchar endorsed Joe Biden, but the former vice president had done almost nothing to campaign in Minnesota.
In Moorhead, 24-year-old brewery worker James Kelsey had decided on Sanders long before Klobuchar bowed out. Kelsey said he likes Sanders’ support for expanding Medicare.
Kelsey said health care is “a pretty big one for me. Everyone should have the right to live a healthy life.”
Mara Morken, 43, a small business owner in Moorhead, voted for Elizabeth Warren and called Sanders her second choice. She said she would support Biden if he becomes the nominee even if she “might choke a little bit.”
“We need to see blue in the White House,” she said. “We’ve seen what Donald Trump can do. He has put children in cages and started trade wars that have hurt our farmers.”￼