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Biden, Sanders Cancel Cleveland Rallies over Coronavirus Concerns

Former vice president Joe Biden in Columbia, S.C., on February 29, 2020 (Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters)

Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled planned campaign rallies in Cleveland on Tuesday amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak.

Sanders was scheduled to speak at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, while Biden was set to appear at Cuyahoga Community College Recreation Center. Both candidates canceled after Ohio governor Mike Devine declared a state of emergency on Tuesday.

“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland. We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak,” a Sanders campaign spokesman said, adding that “all future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

“In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is canceled,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director, in a statement. “We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days.”

Six states — Idaho, North Dakota, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Washington — are holding their primaries Tuesday, with 352 delegates, or roughly nine percent of all delegates, up for grabs.

Biden currently leads Sanders by nearly 100 delegates, 670-574, in the race to the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination outright.

Michigan, with 152 delegates, is the biggest prize of the night. According to the RealClear Politics polling average, Biden leads by over 22 points in the state. The Republican mayor of Michigan’s fourth-largest city, who previously voted for President Trump, endorsed Biden on Tuesday ahead of the primary.

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