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Joe Biden steams ahead of Bernie Sanders with primary victories – live | US news

Good morning.

Joe Biden last night continued to cement his extraordinary comeback in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee and take on Donald Trump in November.

The former vice-president to Barack Obama won at least four states in last night’s primaries – most significantly Michigan.

Leftwing senator Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton there in the 2016 race, and last night’s disappointing result for Sanders suggested that his victory four years ago may have had more to do with dislike for the former secretary of state than his own strength in the rust belt. Last night Biden beat Sanders 53% to 37%.

The centrist ex-VP also won in Idaho, Missouri and Mississippi – where he took in 81% of the vote to Sanders’ 15%.

Sanders is leading in North Dakota with 78% of the vote in. In Washington state, the two candidates are neck and neck on 33% with 67% in.

Full results are here:

The results put Biden on 823 delegates to Sanders’ 663 and suggest the former vice-president is now pulling decisively ahead. His polling lead over the Vermont senator has skyrocketed since the withdrawal from the race of fellow moderates Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

By contrast Sanders seems only to have seen a slight polling bump from the departure of his fellow leftwinger Elizabeth Warren.

Biden gave a measured victory speech before a small crowd, praising Sanders and his supporters for their “tireless passion” and calling on them to help him defeat Donald Trump together. Sanders did not give a speech and returned to Vermont.

There was a signal yesterday of how the race might be transformed by the coronavirus outbreak, which has now affected over 1,000 people in the US. Both the Biden campaign and the Sanders campaign had cancelled scheduled election night rallies in Ohio as a precaution against spreading the virus.

Biden’s campaign also cancelled an event in Florida, and tthe Sanders campaign said it would evaluate future events on a “case by case basis”.

The impact on Trump – who seems to draw such energy from live events and uses them to hone attack lines – remains to be seen.

Biden also said he would deliver a speech on the virus this week.

Here’s more on the primary results:

Today Trump is meeting secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, as well as bankers with whom he will discuss the coronavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr Robert Redfield and infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci testify before the House oversight and reform committee at 9.30am ET.

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