A Look At Joe Biden's Win in North Carolina

Mar 3, 2020

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Credit Gage Skidmore / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

There were essentially two elections in North Carolina.

One was from early voting – before Biden’s surprisingly large win Saturday in South Carolina, and before former candidates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke endorsed him. 

Biden won the early vote with 28% to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ 24%. 

But with moderates coalescing behind Biden on Sunday and Monday, he was on pace to win 52% of those who voted on election day.

"Just a few days ago, the press and the pundits declared the campaign dead and then came South Carolina. ... and they had something to say about it," said Biden, speaking in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

"And we were told when we got to Super Tuesday it would be over. ... Well, it may be over for the other guy. ... Tell that to the folks in Virginia, in North Carolina."

Michael Halle, who was a senior advisor to Buttigieg’s campaign, said having Buttigieg and Klobuchar endorse Biden helped propel him nationwide.

"We sent an email for him, for Joe Biden, last night where Pete asked for people to step up and support Joe Biden," Halle said. "The email raised $300,000 in a single email. Over the last 24 hours people have been asking how they can help and we have gotten them plugged into the Biden campaign." 

Four years ago, Sanders won 18 North Carolina counties in losing to Hillary Clinton.

He did much worse on Tuesday. He won Buncombe county – home to Asheville – and three other counties in the mountains. Ashe county was late reporting its results.

Four years ago he had 467,000 votes in the North Carolina primary. This year he had roughly 306,000 votes with 95% of precincts reporting.

Sanders was defiant in a speech in Vermont.

"You can not beat Trump with the same old, same old kind of politics," he said. "What we need is a new kind of politics that brings working class people into our political movement."

Biden won Mecklenburg County with 45% of the vote to Sanders’ 24. He won the surrounding counties by a little more.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finished third but below the 15% threshold needed to win delegates.

Despite opening his first office in the country in Charlotte, and having the largest paid staff in the state, Bloomberg’s campaign didn’t get traction in North Carolina.

Bloomberg is reportedly re-assessing his campaign after a disappointing Super Tuesday.

But if Bloomberg withdraws from the race, his impact may continue. He has said he will continue spending his own money to defeat President Trump, and staff members at Bloomberg’s Charlotte field office on North Tryon Street have said they expect to continue working through the general election.  

President Trump campaigned in Charlotte on Monday night, and said he was “trolling” Democrats by holding a rally on the night before Super Tuesday.