Joe Biden won presidential primaries in Maryland and a half-dozen other states Tuesday, hoping to gather momentum heading into the Democratic National Convention in August.
The contests, including in delegate-rich Pennsylvania, were rendered essentially moot when U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out in April and endorsed the former vice president. But Biden is hoping to build support, and Pennsylvania in particular is seen as a swing state in the November general election against Republican President Donald Trump.
Biden will be the presumptive nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, which was pushed from July to August because of coronavirus concerns. He will take on Trump on Nov. 3.
He also won primaries Tuesday in Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Indiana and Rhode Island.
Biden’s primary victories came amid voters’ concerns about the coronavirus and as Baltimore and many other cities have seen protests — and unrest — over police abuses, including the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police.
“The country is crying out for leadership,” Biden said Tuesday in remarks released by his campaign Tuesday in Philadelphia. “Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together. Leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for too long.”
Biden added: "There is no place for violence. No place for looting or destroying property or burning churches, or destroying businesses — many of them built by people of color who for the first time were beginning to realize their dreams and build wealth for their families.”
Tuesday’s primaries may leave Biden just short of the 1,991 delegates he needs, according to a preliminary Associated Press vote count. There are primaries scheduled next week in Georgia and West Virginia.
Because it was printed months ago, Maryland’s Democratic ballot still included the names of Sanders, the senator from Vermont; Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana; U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and other former contenders.
Maryland Policy & Politics
On the Republican side, the Maryland ballots contained the name of Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who dropped out in March, as well as Trump, the presumptive nominee.
Even though the outcome of the nominating process was all but decided by the time primary season reached Maryland, the Biden campaign released a list last week of more than 200 Maryland elected officials and other local leaders endorsing him. It included Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen; former U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes; state House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones; and state Senate President Bill Ferguson.
Biden held several fundraisers in Maryland in the past year. So did some of his former Democratic rivals for the nomination, including Buttigieg, and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
Biden’s supporters said the former U.S. senator from Delaware is a particularly good fit in Maryland.
“He’s a guy that went to work every day on the train through Maryland, and he comes from the far Eastern Shore — it’s called Delaware,” state Sen. Jim Rosapepe said during the primary campaign. Rosapepe, of Prince George’s County, was an early leader of Biden’s state effort, along with state Del. Erek Barron, also of Prince George’s County.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Biden’s prominent Maryland contributors included Bill Miller, founder of the Baltimore investment firm Miller Value Partners; MedStar Health executive David Mayer; Montgomery County developer Brendan O’Neill Jr., and Andrew Pantelis, an Annapolis-based firefighters international union official.
Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver — a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy — held a fundraiser in Montgomery County for Biden, as did David Seldin, an executive with a venture capital firm, according to Rosapepe.