Former vice president Joe Biden won the Florida Democratic primary Tuesday evening in a blowout victory over Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
With 70 percent of precincts reporting results by 8 p.m., Biden claimed 61 percent of votes to Sanders’s 23 percent.
Sanders, who typically polls well with Latinos across the U.S., saw consistently low support among Florida’s large Hispanic population, made up largely of refugees and exiles from Cuba and their descendants. The Vermont senator has drawn criticism for his repeated praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and other left-wing Latin American strongmen, including Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
Voting took place in the shadow of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, as observers were unsure how the spread of the illness would affect voter turnout. Ohio governor Mike DeWine sued to cancel in-person voting for his state’s primary, originally scheduled for March 7, however Florida, Illinois, and Arizona continued to hold their primaries as planned.
“I think that when you go and cancel [the primaries], the signal that that sends is somehow that we’re paralyzed,” said Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Monday. “I don’t think that’s the case. I think we’re taking prudent steps.”