Biden harnesses momentum, wins Oklahoma’s Democratic primary

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(Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Former Vice President Joe Biden won Oklahoma’s Democratic presidential primary on Super Tuesday, easily outpacing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was hoping to repeat his primary victory here four years ago.

Biden harnessed momentum from a resounding primary win on Saturday in South Carolina and a rally in Dallas Monday night where former rivals Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar endorsed him.

Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, also made a last-minute campaign stop Tuesday morning in Oklahoma City, where she visited an elementary school and met with African-American community leaders.

“I wasn’t sure Joe was going to have the momentum, so I was holding off to see how things evolved,” said Edmond business owner Vicki Toombs, 63, who voted for Biden Tuesday. “As it turns out, he goes to South Carolina, and we were very excited about that.”

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump easily won a six-man GOP primary with more than 90% of the vote.

Sanders had hoped Super Tuesday in Oklahoma would be a repeat of his performance four years ago, when he won the state’s Democratic primary by more than 10 percentage points. Sanders held a rally in Norman and visited a Comanche Nation powwow outside of Lawton in September. His wife, Jane Sanders, visited Tulsa and Tahlequah last week hoping to rally his base just days ahead of the primary.

At a polling place Tuesday morning in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, James Dillon, 34, said Sanders was his choice.

“I think he’s truly for the people,” Dillon said. “He wants to turn things around in the right direction, getting income equality.”

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent heavily on advertising and nearly two dozen field staffers in Oklahoma and made multiple campaign stops in the Sooner State. That included a January visit to Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District, where he outlined an racial economic equality proposal aimed at increasing the number of black-owned homes and businesses.

“We need somebody who is going to look at the facts, be data-driven, and get the right people in the room to solve problems in a pragmatic way, and also someone who is a good manager,” said Keith McArtor, 61, a Tulsa attorney who cast his ballot for Bloomberg.

Early Tuesday, President Donald Trump urged Oklahomans to not support Bloomberg, saying in a tweet that Bloomberg would “kill your drilling, fracking and pipelines.”

Bloomberg and Biden both targeted the Democratic Party’s moderate lane, especially after Buttigieg and Klobuchar suspended their campaigns in recent days.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who grew up in Oklahoma City and held a December rally here, had hoped her roots in the state would help propel her to success in Oklahoma.

Also on the ballot Tuesday in seven Oklahoma counties was a question on whether to allow liquor sales on Sunday.

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