Super Tuesday raises 2020 stakes as candidates face first national test

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Super Tuesday raises 2020 stakes as candidates face first national test
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Super Tuesday raises 2020 stakes as candidates face first national test
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The four early nominating contests might be over, but this week Democrats face a significant turning point in the 2020 presidential race when the candidates are tested on a national scale — potentially providing more clarity over who in the fractured battle will ultimately face President Donald Trump.

With the single biggest day of voting in the campaign taking place on Super Tuesday, the candidates are competing across 15 contests for a treasure chest of delegates, which will be awarded across geographically and racially diverse parts of the country — and the stakes could not be higher.

The presidential hopefuls still in the race are each utilizing their own pathway to score big on Super Tuesday, and while all of them have campaigned in California and Texas, the two most delegate-rich states of the night, not everyone will emerge a winner. With over one-third of pledged delegates up for grabs Tuesday, each of the candidates are hoping to walk away with their version of a win in order to demonstrate they can campaign anywhere.

Even so, it remains to be seen if any of the contenders will establish a commanding lead after Tuesday night. Beyond the current front-runner, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the other Democrats are all seeking to shift the contours of the race.

On Tuesday, across 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia — and one territory, American Samoa, 1,344 delegates are up for grabs.

Former Vice President Joe Biden enters Tuesday fresh off a resounding win in South Carolina’s primary and a slew of nearly 50 endorsements since Saturday from current and former Democratic leaders up and down the ballot, including two of his now-former rivals, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Biden, too, currently is the leader of the popular vote, and seeks to use the boon to his campaign to overtake his rival Sanders in the delegate race.

“Tomorrow, Texas and Minnesota and the rest of Super Tuesday states — you’re gonna have a lot to say about it,” Biden said in Dallas on the eve of Super Tuesday, shortly after Buttigieg and Klobuchar formally announced they are backing his campaign. “My message to everyone, every person who’s been knocked down, counted out, left behind: This is your campaign. We need you. We want you, and there’s a place in this campaign for you. So join us.”

With the moderate former candidates coalescing around his bid, and a two-person race appearing to form, Biden is looking to the southern states with larger African American populations — such as Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia — to build on his sudden surge of momentum.

“You know, just a few days ago, the pundits declared my campaign dead … but then along came South Carolina,” Biden said in Houston on Monday. “And South Carolina had something to say about it. As I stand here today, because of the minority communities, I am very much alive because of you.”

For the Biden campaign, running up the score across districts, although perhaps not statewide, could deliver a successful night.

You can read the rest of Kendall Karson and Quinn Scanlan’s article at ABCnews.com

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