Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the Texas presidential primary, continuing a stunning revival of his once-struggling campaign that has helped him solidify himself as one of the two leading contenders in the broader race for the Democratic nomination.
Despite early voting returns putting U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders ahead of the former vice president, election day voters propelled Biden to victory here. As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, Biden led Sanders by nearly 2 percentage points, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office.
Michael Bloomberg, the New York City billionaire, was a distant third, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
“Call it a W,” Biden tweeted. “Thank you, Texas.”
Biden was leading or had won 10 states on Super Tuesday, while Sanders looked likely to win four, including California — the biggest prize of the night given its hefty delegate lode. But how the 228 delegates Texas awarded on primary election day will be divvied up remains to be seen.
Just before midnight, Bloomberg was the only other candidate above the 15% threshold required to pick up statewide delegates. Warren was a few percentage points short, and Tulsi Gabbard also didn’t appear on track to pick up any statewide delegates.
Biden’s campaign recently surged to life after he nabbed a decisive victory in the South Carolina primary Saturday. Since then, he’s established himself as the leading moderate candidate seeking the nomination.
His momentum, however, didn’t begin until after early voting in Texas concluded. When it started Feb. 18, Biden was tumbling in the polls after humiliating fourth- and fifth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
With Sanders seemingly in the lead, Democrats worried about Sanders’ rise rallied behind Biden. After South Carolina, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar shuttered their respective White House bids and announced their support for the former vice president during a rally Monday night in Dallas. Former El Paso U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke also endorsed Biden.
In recent days, Biden also upped his presence in the state with a small Super Tuesday TV ad buy and public events in both Houston and Dallas.
Biden, speaking to jubilant supporters in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, shared credit with his former rivals who backed him.
“We won Minnesota because of Amy Klobuchar. And we’re doing well in Texas because of Beto O’Rourke,” Biden said to a brimming crowd.
The scale of Biden’s lead in Texas puts increased pressure on Bloomberg, who poured millions of dollars into the state and had the biggest ground-game operation by far. Bloomberg had staked his campaign on Super Tuesday, eschewing campaigning in the first four states. And he spent millions in Texas in particular.