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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN Projects Biden Wins AL, NC, VA; Sanders Wins VT; CNN Exit Poll: Late Deciding Voters Broke For Biden Today; Biden With Wins In AL; NC And VA; Sanders Wins VT; MA, ME TN Too Close To Call. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired March 3, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We certainly will.
Polling places are about to close in five states -- Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Massachusetts and Maine. A total of 268 delegates are on the line.
All right. CNN can now project that Joe Biden will win the Democratic presidential primary in the state of Alabama where 52 delegates are at stake, another win for Joe Biden.
So, Alabama he's won, North Carolina he's won, Virginia he's won. So far three states tonight Joe Biden has won.
We have a key race alert right now. Take a look at this.
In Massachusetts right now, we cannot project the winner based on the exit poll information, but the early leaders in Massachusetts are, look at this, Biden, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. That's her home state. Massachusetts, 91 delegates at stake.
In Oklahoma right now, once again we cannot project a winner yet, too early to call. Biden and Sanders are the early leaders in Oklahoma where 37 delegates are at stake.
Similarly in Maine, look at this, the early leaders, Biden and Sanders, 24 delegates are at stake in Maine right now. We cannot project the winner based on the exit poll information we're getting, at least not yet.
The headline, though, is that Alabama, the state of Alabama has gone, there you can see it, Alabama goes to Joe Biden. Another win, his third win of the night, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, three important wins for Joe Biden.
It follows Saturday in South Carolina, he had a very impressive, decisive win in South Carolina right now. So far, he's doing great so far, but let's remember it's going to be an exciting night. Texas, California, still very much looking ahead.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. About half the delegates for this evening are in Texas or California, so those are the big prices prizes. But as of right now, Joe Biden is doing really well.
Let's look at the map. First of all, we have obviously Sanders has won Vermont. We've already given -- projected that Vermont and North Carolina will go for Vice President Biden and now we're going to go to -- give him Alabama also.
So, one of the other things to keep in mind here. We keep talking about how Texas and California, the big prizes, about half the delegates. But the four states where there are sizeable African- American population up tonight, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, those are a quarter of the delegates that will be awarded tonight. So, you know, this is a game of delegates, it's a game of inches.
If Vice President Biden can get all of those states and have a sizeable African-American population, that's going to help offset any losses in these states that are much bigger prizes, California and Texas.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The other huge story right now is Massachusetts. The fact that Elizabeth Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, cannot be declared the victor at all and not only her but Bernie Sanders, who is the neighboring senator who has campaigned hard there also cannot be declared the victor is very, very telling that Joe Biden is still in the game there.
And we really don't know what's going to happen there. That is a bad sign for Elizabeth Warren. A really, really bad one.
BLITZER: She must have been, she got to win her home state of Massachusetts.
David Chalian, you're looking at Massachusetts, you're looking at the exit poll information. What do you see?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, that's right, Wolf. So much of tonight across all these states, we keep looking at a two-man race between Biden and Sanders. In Massachusetts, it's a three-way race. Digging into the numbers I think will tell you why we're not able to project it.
Take a look at very liberal voters in Massachusetts. They're 28 percent of the electorate today. Sanders wins 41 percent of them and Warren is right there with them in her home state with 39 percent of them, Biden way down at 14 percent with the very liberals.
But look at moderate voters, they're about an equal size in the Massachusetts Democratic electorate and Joe Biden is doing really well with them. He wins 43 percent of the moderates. Bernie Sanders gets 24 percent. Michael Bloomberg 14 percent. Elizabeth Warren in her home state with moderates is down here at 13 percent.
And look at female voters in Massachusetts. Women make up 56 percent of the electorate in Massachusetts. Look at this contest. Elizabeth warren, among women in her home state in the Democratic primary is at 30 percent. Joe Biden is right there with her at 28 percent and Bernie Sanders is right there with 26 percent.
Women are 56 percent of the electorate and look at how they are splitting roughly evenly across those three candidates, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, David.
I'm here with John King at the magic wall. So far big picture, let's take a look. North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, we've projected all going to Biden. South Carolina he won on Saturday.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. South Carolina was first on Saturday, Virginia and North Carolina over here Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas still to watch as we watch this play out.
What is happening here, number one, let's look at the margins. 54 to 23 and no other candidate at the moment, we're still counting, we're up to 63 percent now, no other candidate viable or close. You need 15 percent to be viable.
So, this looks like a big delegate win for Bernie Sanders -- I mean for Joe Biden, some share for Bernie Sanders there. Then you come down to North Carolina and are just starting to get results there. They had a delay because they had to leave one precinct open. The early results, we're confident in this projection.
The big question is going to be third largest prize of the night in terms of delegates, 110 delegates at stake. So this matters. Michael Bloomberg at the moment in North Carolina is viable but we're just at 1 percent so stay tuned and see how it goes. But, if he can stay there, he does need to pick up delegates to prove that he belongs in the race, Sanders and Biden atop the field right now.
Move over here. I don't know if we have any votes yet. The polls just closed in Alabama. What are we seeing? Biden blue across the South, right? Let's look at it here. We'll see Tennessee and Arkansas a bit later in the night. One of the things to go back in time is to look. This is the Hillary Clinton map, right? This is Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders.
One of the things senator Sanders complained about is she is winning in states that won't be competitive in November. It's a fair argument, it doesn't matter. You're getting delegates, you're trying to win the Democratic nomination, you worry about the general election after you get the nomination.
Another conversation going on tonight, though, is that Virginia is Joe Biden's first win in a state that will be competitive in the fall. It's trending blue, but the Trump campaign has every intention to compete in Virginia, because 2016, here's 2020, Joe Biden, big victory there now. If you go back to 2016 and the presidential race, yes, Hillary Clinton won by 6 points, but the Trump campaign says it has the resources to at least try to make it competitive, so that's one thing we're watching. You pull this out, I just want to show you one of the reasons this is
happening. We saw this start in South Carolina. You bring this up here. The African-American population is coming out to turn out for Joe Biden. You see the deeper shading in these states, the higher the population of African-Americans in Virginia, in North Carolina, in South Carolina, before that in Alabama right now, and we're going to watch Arkansas as we go forward throughout the night and a little Oklahoma as well, wolf.
BLITZER: We certainly are. Thanks very much, John.
David Chalian, remember, it's really about delegates. You're looking closely at the delegate count.
CHALIAN: That's what it is all about and that's what we'll track all night long and into the days ahead as final votes get tallied. But take a look at what we can allocate. In Alabama, 52 delegates are at stake in Alabama, projected that Joe Biden is going to win Alabama. We're able to award him 17 of those delegates, 35 of those delegates remain unallocated. We have to wait to see how the vote comes in by district statewide, but right now, Biden with 17 delegates out of Alabama.
In North Carolina, a similar story, 110 delegates at stake. We are able to award 20 to Joe Biden who we have projected will win North Carolina. Ninety of the delegates remained unallocated. Joe Biden already pulling out 20 delegates in North Carolina.
Let's keep going up north here. You can see in Virginia, 99 delegates at stake, Wolf. Biden already getting 25 of them. Sanders only three.
We projected Biden the winner. I showed you a while ago the margin of victory is going to matter. That's how it matters. A big margin of victory can get you a sizeable delegate lead. We still have 71 delegates unallocated. A ways to go as the vote comes in there.
In Vermont, Bernie Sanders, of course, is projected to win 16 delegates at stake. He has already got 6 of those 16 delegates. 10 remain unassigned.
BLITZER: So let's take a look at the delegates right now tonight. How are we counting them right now?
CHALIAN: So you've said all night long, 1,344 delegates at stake. About a third of the delegates, total delegates are at stake tonight.
Here's where we are so far for tonight. Biden, 62 delegates so far. Sanders, 9. Bloomberg, 4. And Tulsi Gabbard, 1. The Bloomberg and Gabbard delegates thanks to American Samoa.
But you see the way the night is going right now, and we have a long way to go tonight. There are big delegate prizes to come. This is a Biden night with 62 delegates so far.
BLITZER: What about delegates to date? CHALIAN: This is the ultimate metric. This is how you win the
Democratic nomination and the right to go up against President Trump in the fall. You need 1,991 delegates to get the nomination.
Look where we are so far. Joe Biden in the lead, 115 delegates. Bernie Sanders, 69, Pete Buttigieg who dropped out of the race has 26.
Elizabeth Warren only 8 delegates so far in this contest. Amy Klobuchar, former candidate, has 7. She dropped out yesterday. And again, Bloomberg with 4 and Tulsi Gabbard with 1.
But that is a pretty big Joe Biden delegate lead thus far.
BLITZER: He sees that, he's smiling right now.
Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, thanks very much.
Gloria, you get a sense of how early we are in this process and even tonight if there's 1,344 delegates totally to be awarded, we're like at 76 so far.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. But if -- if Bloomberg were to be a real, real big problem for Biden, an early sign of that would have been a very close race in Virginia, for example.
COOPER: Where he spent a fair amount of time.
BORGER: Where he spent a lot of money. I have our cheat sheet courtesy of our impresario of spending at CNN. I need to give him credit, David Wright, who collects all these numbers every single day and has done it for a long time.
But in Virginia, yes, almost $18 million for Bloomberg and a few hundred thousand for Joe Biden. But that would have told a story to us. That would have said to us, okay, Joe Biden is in trouble and then you see what happened in North Carolina, for example.
And I think the question is going to be whether African-American voters continue to come out in big numbers for Joe Biden and moderate voters, those white moderate voters come out in big numbers and whether they can outweigh Latinos and white progressive voters for Bernie Sanders.
COOPER: It's also interesting, David Axelrod, we saw the numbers from Massachusetts among women and you essentially had a three-way split between Sanders, Biden and warren.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, which wasn't the case in polling just a few days ago. So this bounce is going beyond the southern region here and we should point that out. I think there are a few things that we can deduce here. You know, Mike Bloomberg made a bet and that bet was Joe Biden would
self-destruct before this Super Tuesday race came up and he would emerge as the challenger to Sanders and the one who could beat Trump.
He lost that bet. He lost that bet. And now, he is losing in the early returns we've seen in a variety of states. It seems pretty clear that he's going to have a decision to make after this that could alter the race moving forward because he's not getting a very good return on his investment.
Joe Biden, his whole -- the predicate of his candidacy in some ways was I can beat Donald Trump. That predicate was challenged by his early performance in Iowa, in New Hampshire. There were doubts about that. I think as much as anything with the South Carolina win, the convincing win he had in South Carolina was restore that sense that maybe he is the guy and then the endorsements of his opponents added to that momentum. So I think that is important.
And the last thing I just want to say about Bernie Sanders is I would be concerned, and I've been saying this every single contest. Maine may have been a false positive, but he didn't perform -- he underperformed in Iowa, he underperformed in New Hampshire. You know, he won 86 percent of the vote in Vermont against Hillary Clinton in 2016. He's getting 57 percent tonight. He won every delegate in Vermont.
You go state by state and he won 35 percent in Virginia. He's getting 23 percent, 24 percent tonight. Bernie Sanders is not growing here. He is not building on what he did before. That would be a big concern.
COOPER: Nia, it's interesting with Biden, though. I mean, in South Carolina, it's not -- clearly there's momentum that he's gained since South Carolina, but there wasn't an event, a great debate performance, there wasn't something other than the Clyburn endorsement which really started to catapult him in South Carolina.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think that's part of it. I mean there was that endorsement, which was very emotional, very powerful, was playing all over radio in South Carolina. He had that pretty good town hall as well in South Carolina.
And once he won, he just found his footing. I saw him down there. He looked great and happy in his environment. And that speech he gave, right, he found his voice again. He was the Joe Biden people remembered.
He talked about his loss. He talked about restoring the soul of America, which was his initial message for getting into this. So I think, you know, Clyburn might have been the spark and then you had all of these other dominos to fall. He looked like a winner in a way we hadn't seen before.
COOPER: But there isn't -- I mean, Andrew, there isn't a fundamental change in -- you know, I don't know, are people getting carried away with just momentum based on this Clyburn endorsement and the win and then it's been only three days and it seems like, oh, everything is going. But if you see him in a debate next time, is he going to be radically different than he was before?
ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: People love a winner, Anderson. The fact is having figures like Pete and Amy drop out and endorse him show that the party is consolidating around Joe.
I have to say echoing what Van said, there's this sense around Bernie camp, oh, no, here we go again where the DNC and the establishment are coming together to kneecap Bernie in a way that's reminiscent of what they felt happened in 2016.
I think that many voters have been waiting for a clear front-runner to emerge and now that Joe has that momentum, he's not letting it go.
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I just respond to that? Look, there was sort of a consensus around the panel that this is just how politics is. That you've got a lot of folks who have a lot of accumulated power inside of these powerful institutions. When they come together and pick a winner, that's the winner.
That's not how it works and Donald Trump showed us that in 2016. It feels like the party hasn't learned that lesson. If we're putting forward another Democrat with no message, who's just there -- look, I'm going to take us back to the cliff we just fell off of in 2016 and that's going to be good enough without addressing real issues of poverty and real issues of people lacking health care, I worry what that means for us in the general.
COOPER: Terry, I just want to respond.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I couldn't disagree more. I mean, what Joe Biden is showing us tonight, and this is the trouble with Sanders, the African-American community is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders has shown he cannot expand in that community by building on strength in that community.
We cannot have a nominee of our party who cannot win African-American votes, which you saw in Virginia tonight. Number one, huge win, as you saw in North Carolina, that Biden got with the African-American community. Number two, Prince William County, one of the fastest growing counties in America, that was a red state in Virginia 12 years ago.
I won it, Biden just won it big. That is Latino, that is Asian, and also look at the turnout in Virginia at 80 percent right now, at 80 percent, we are already in about 926,000 votes compared to 782,000 in 2016.
Huge turnout, African-American vote, Latino, Hispanic. We're expanding the coalition. That's what Bernie has to prove tonight.
EL-SAYED: So, first of all, if you look at African-Americans under the age of 40, Bernie Sanders wins them handily. If you talk about expanding, that's where we're going to expand. Number two, the Latinx community hasn't voiced itself in this Super
Tuesday yet. We're waiting on Texas and California. The popularity there is immense.
Number three, again, we're not answering the question about what the message is for Joe Biden in the fall. That's been unclear from the very beginning. It's the reason he looked to be sputtering in the beginning of this race. And now, we're in this position where he's been propped up by a number of party insiders but that still doesn't give him a message.
MCAULIFFE: When AOC came out, I've got to tell you, when AOC came out for Bernie Sanders and the other members, you guys lost your minds. This was the greatest endorsement of all time.
So, let's not -- in fairness -- talk about endorsements, because Bernie Sanders used them as much as Joe Biden has used them.
But the big difference between the two is Bernie is for Medicare-for- All. Joe Biden is not. Joe Biden wants to protect Obamacare and expand it. Americans don't want to lose their personal health care.
AXELROD: Guys, here's the thing. Millions and millions of people are voting tonight, and they're going to make independent judgments here. The notion that somehow a few party leaders are manipulating millions of voters -- I mean, Bernie Sanders is presenting the same message. And look, he is passionate and he is effective at promoting his message and he speaks to a yearning among many people, particularly young people, for dramatic action to deal with big problems ands and I think bide to embrace the spirit of that if he's going to be successful.
But millions of people are voting tonight and you can't say if Bernie Sanders doesn't do better, if he does worse than he did four years ago with a lot of these voters, that can't just be because a few people endorsed Joe Biden.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we're in danger of swinging around here. For a while people were like, OK, we're concerned about the McGovern curse that, in '72 he went too far to the left and everybody ran away from Bernie trying to find a safe harbor and now that safe harbor appears to be Biden. There's a John Kerry curse as well, where the party consolidates around the inevitable front-runner and come up short as well.
So I think what's going on is this party is trying to find its way forward. I think it's not a mystery what happened -- why Joe Biden suddenly emerged. It wasn't about Joe Biden.
Elizabeth Warren destroyed Bloomberg. We haven't said her name. Elizabeth Warren, not Joe Biden, destroyed Bloomberg and knocked that out.
COOPER: The polls close soon in Arkansas. The question is, will Joe Biden score another win there? We're standing by for results. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: All right. We have an alert right now. Numbers are beginning to come in from Texas, even though the entire state's polling places close at the top of the hour. They're already releasing some numbers, 1 percent of the vote.
Bernie Sanders 36.3 percent, Michael Bloomberg 23.5 percent, Joe Biden 15.2 percent. The rest trailing.
In Massachusetts right now, also very, very early, Joe Biden is ahead 34.2 percent, Bernie Sanders 25.6 percent, Elizabeth Warren, her home state, 24.5 percent, Bloomberg and Tulsi Gabbard trailing.
Let's continue to Tennessee right now. There's Tennessee, 64 delegates at stake. Bloomberg slightly ahead of Joe Biden, 26.6 percent to 25.8 percent. Bernie Sanders 20.8 percent. The rest trailing. One percent of the vote is in.
Oklahoma, 1 percent of the vote is in. Biden is ahead 24.8 percent. Bloomberg is a close second, 20.8 percent, Bernie Sanders a close third, 18.1 percent. The rest trailing as you can see.
In Maine right now, still very, very early, Biden is ahead, though, 38.3 percent, Bernie Sanders 30.5 percent, Michael Bloomberg 15.3 percent. The rest trailing right now.
Let's go over to John King at the magic wall. Texas is the second biggest prize of the night. Polling places in much of the state are now closed. The rest of the state will close at the top of the hour.
What's going on?
KING: We're just starting to get the very early results. But you see, that's the Sanders blue.
As we go through this big night, 14 states.
You know, if you haven't tracked them in the early contests, the dark blue is Biden, the early blue is Sanders. That's Pete Buttigieg who won Iowa. He's now gone from the race.
Let's take a look here in Texas. A tiny percentage of the vote in right now. See how big Texas is right here. All we have is Webb County down here, the home of Laredo, about 1 percent of the statewide population, 254 counties in Texas. We got a long way to go.
But Bernie Sanders, you want votes everywhere you can get them. Bernie Sanders in the lead here. Again, a tiny percentage in, let's keep an eye on this.
We expect Joe Biden to be viable in Texas, let's see if Michael Bloomberg is viable in Texas. You need 15 percent in this first tiny wave of votes, he is viable. We watch as it plays out. Senator Elizabeth Warren -- so far, again in these very, very early results, that's disappointing.
You mentioned Oklahoma a short time ago. Let's pop this up and bring it in. Again, we're at 1 percent, we have a long ways to go tonight. Joe Biden at 25 percent, Michael Bloomberg viable right now in Oklahoma.
The question for Michael Bloomberg, is he get going some payback for all that multimillion dollar, multi-tens of million of dollars investment? One percent in at the moment, he is viable for delegates in Oklahoma. It was one of the states he was hoping that Biden would collapse and he could win, we'll see what happens.
But ahead at the moment. You just said a moment ago that Bloomberg was leading in Tennessee, as you're on your way over, that one flipped. That's the fun of live election night, especially in contests that are close and competitive. Up to 2 percent now, Joe Biden has pulled 217 votes ahead. Could change a lot. Watch the colors change as live results come in. At the moment Joe Biden hoping to add Tennessee to his southern border state sweep. At 2 percent, he has the lead.
And again, watch this throughout the night. It's because this is about delegates and because we're in Democratic primaries and it is proportional. You want to look at the winner but who's coming in second and who's coming in third. Are those candidates above 15 percent. It has everything to do with what this night is about, which is delegate math, the breakdown and proportionality of those delegates.
So Biden, Bloomberg and Sanders at the very moment 2 percent in competition for 64 delegates out of Tennessee. Let's keep going. Now they're coming in. We can go through them all. Alabama very early in the results. This is a state Joe Biden pulling up a big lead, 52 delegates at stake there.
Let's make sure we've done this right. Yes, I do. North Carolina, Joe Biden up to 30 percent now.
Again, interesting to watch. Joe Biden with your lead. We've already called this state. Bernie Sanders in second place, viable. Looks like he'll get some delegates here. Keep an eye here.
Bloomberg above 15 percent, a place where he could on a night so far we haven't seen any path to Bloomberg victories, except for American Samoa, perhaps some delegates there. Again, broke a record but disappointing again, Elizabeth Warren below viability.
That matters even more if you keep going. We'll keep going north. We've already called Virginia. I want to keep taking a look at it for how big of a win it is for Joe Biden, 53 percent. Senator Sanders at 23.
We're getting close in Virginia. It does not look like Warren or Bloomberg will be viable in Virginia. That's 99 delegates. That means they will be split between Biden and Sanders unless something quite dramatic changes, most unlikely.
That's big for Joe Biden to get a bigger slice of the 99 delegates at stake in Virginia, and again disappointment, huge disappointment, Michael Bloomberg, his first public event in his campaign was Virginia. He's struggling there.
Let's move on up here, let's come up to Massachusetts and see what we have here. Right now, again, a tiny percentage of the vote in here. Biden ahead, Sanders, this is Elizabeth Warren's home state. You don't need me to say it. She can't finish there.
So you just walk through -- you don't want the question in your home state to be, are you viable? You want the question to be are you winning. We're early so we've got a long way to go here, but the fact that this is so competitive is another in this one stunning disappointment for the Warren campaign so far. We'll keep counting as we go.
I just want to poop here, I've got to take this one off here. Get up to Maine here. Very preliminary, 1 percent of the vote.
Again, in the New England neighborhood, where senator Sanders, everyone thought a week or two ago senator Sanders would win Maine quite easily. We're very early, we'll see what happens. Perhaps viable, we'll see how the votes go throughout the night. Again, Elizabeth Warren well below 15 percent in the early, extra early results.
Just for you at home if you see me switch this, if I hit these, these are the states we have called. That's where we determined the winner. You pull this off and see the shading in some of the other states. Texas is the big example. We haven't called Texas yet so you see it like that. I want you to know the different gradations of the map.
BLITZER: I'm curious, in Virginia, Biden is doing really well in Virginia. Almost all of the vote, 93 percent is in. He's got 54 percent. Is he doing better in Virginia than Hillary Clinton did four years ago?
KING: By percentage, no, because it was a two contest race but let's go back and take a look at it. She had 64 percent. So, by percentage, no.
But in a two-candidate race, you will notice, Senator Sanders here, Senator Sanders down here, more pockets of Senator Sanders. These are white rural working class areas, especially you see the border with West Virginia and the border with North Carolina and beyond, these rural areas.
So you take that off and come back, that's where Sanders strength, also up here.
WOLF BLITZER: You know, I just want to point out, Arkansas closing at 8:30 here on the East Coast. We're saying it's too early to call right now in Arkansas.
KING: And so you come out to Arkansas, the home state of Bill and Hillary Clinton. At one point when she was first lady and he was governor, too close to call right now, we say, as the polls close there.
This is another state again, you know, most of your population here, Little Rock. You come up here, Tennessee. And what you're hoping if you're Joe Biden is that this just carries over.
I want to pop this back out because as we've been talking, again, a lot of election, I suspect this is what makes it so much fun. Just as we've been talking in the conversation, Bloomberg was ahead a few moments ago when you were over there. Biden was ahead when you got here. Bernie Sanders is ahead right now by 58 votes, 24, 24, 23, if you do the rounding right there. So that's what makes it, especially so many candidates in these competitive states, that's what makes -- you know, you brew a little coffee and you hang and then --
BLITZER: Still very early, 4 percent of the vote.
KING: It is very, very early. It's just interesting to see this again, 24, 24, 23, if you round, and Elizabeth Warren at 8 -- 9 percent if you round up there and you pull it out. So look, so that would be, you know, Senator Sanders. If he could pull off a win in a place like Tennessee, it would be incredibly happy because you see Joe Biden coming this swath right here, but we're very early and we go through it.
Again, the bottom line for tonight is about delegates. We have a long, long way to go. The biggest prize still not -- second biggest prize still not called. By far the biggest prize, California 441 delegates, still not called. At the moment, Joe Biden feeling good that he has a delegate lead, but we have a very long way to go.
We haven't talked to Minnesota yet. I just want to check back in on Maine to see. Sometimes you stay for a minute and results come. No. Sometimes you stay and they come in pretty quickly. Let's pop down on my home state of Massachusetts, still only at 1 percent here. Biden opening up a lead, but it's 1 percent.
BLITZER: Most of the voting in Texas has been completed, but all of the state won't be closed until the top of the hour, about a half an hour or so from now. Five percent of the vote is now in. Let's take a look at Dallas right now. You can see over there in Dallas, Biden is ahead.
KING: In Dallas County, second largest of the counties in the state of Texas, there are 254 counties, Dallas County is the second largest county. This has 60 percent of precincts reporting here. We'll see if those numbers hold up. But there is pretty impressive, but it's close. It's 27 percent, 25 percent, and again, Bloomberg viable here.
I almost sound mean the way I keep doing this, but this is all about delegates tonight and Elizabeth Warren, again, in this Dallas County below viability. And if you pull it out, statewide so far, it's very early. It's only 5 percent in Texas, but she is below the 15 percent line.
Three candidates right now are competing for the lead in Texas. Bernie Sanders on top at the moment, but Joe Biden -- you know, if you would ask people a week ago, would Joe Biden be in a struggle, a tug of war with Bernie Sanders in state of Texas, they would have laughed at you. We'll see if we stay there as the vote count comes up. But at the moment --
BLITZER: 228 delegates at stake in Texas.
KING: Yes. It is -- we're talking about all the delegates tonight, you know, 1,344. 48 percent of them come from these two states, right? And then North Carolina is the third biggest prize. We've already called that for Joe Biden. But 48 percent of the delegates tonight come from two states, Texas and California.
So as this fills in, absolutely critical. We'll see viable votes in California go. Sanders led in all the polls out there. The expectation is he will get a decent advantage, perhaps a significant advantage out of California.
If Joe Biden can make Texas a battleground at the statewide level and at the congressional district level, the delegate rules are a little complicated, you have to do statewide and then go into congressional districts. But if Joe Biden can keep it like this as we go through, the question is Michael Bloomberg here, we have not seen a big Bloomberg impact in many of the states. Is this an impact state where Michael Bloomberg is having an impact on that top?
And if you're in the Biden campaign, if it froze right here and stuck right here, you would say that is a problem for Joe Biden. But we have a ways to go in the vote count. As we pull it out, I just want to come back here and clear this out of the way just to see if anything else has changed.
Let's just check back to see, still at 2 percent in Massachusetts with Joe Biden on top. Again, if you had spoken a week ago and said there would be a point in the night where Joe Biden would be leading in Massachusetts, you would have gotten laughed up.
Come down at Virginia, we're up at 93percent and growing. And this one, again, has flipped back and forth a few teams. We see it static at 4 percent right now in Tennessee. But you pull it out, we've got fun.
BLITZER: It's going to be exciting. Anderson, back to you.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, thanks very much. We've been having our own discussions here for a while. Yes. Abdul, where do you see things right now?
ABDUL EL-SAYED, SANDERS SUPPORTER: Well, look, I think we still have Texas and California left to play. We're going to hear a lot from the Latinx community, which I'm really looking forward to hearing.
I think, you know, we've got this sort of surge given just the dynamics of the night and I do hope folks that don't just go to sleep because I think we have to make sure we tell the fuller story.
But I will say that, you know, we had a conversation quite a bit, a proxy conversation about electability, about which of these candidates can actually beat Donald Trump and that seems to be the thing on everybody's mind. And I would -- I just think it's really worth us asking a question about whether or not there's trust in the traditional Democratic establishment to solve our problems. And that's been Bernie's point all along.
And so if we present a candidate like Joe Biden who comes from that establishment, an establishment that oversaw eight years in which we had accelerating inequality that left a lot of people behind and then we ask them to vote for that again, I'm just really worried that's not going to get us there. And you're seeing the circling of the wagons of that same establishment around this one candidate. So let's --
COOPER: Let's go to the establishment over here. Governor?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN COMMENTATOR: You know, the Sanders folks always like to yell out the establishment piece.
EL-SAYED: I didn't yell. I said it nicely.
MCAULIFFE: What you're seeing here tonight is Bernie Sanders cannot grow his coalition. He is flat, same thing in Iowa, same thing in New Hampshire, Nevada. You now saw South Carolina where he went down and now tonight you've seen where he's gone down. He's going the wrong way.
And I go back -- forget who endorses. People are trying to make a decision, they cannot stand Donald Trump. Who is it they think can beat Donald Trump? Why have so many United States senators who served with Biden and served with Sanders chose Joe Biden?
One, they like working with him. And number two, they want him at the top of the ticket because they think they can keep their seat. Members of Congress are terrified of Sanders at the top of the ticket.
COOPER: Jess, I think for Sanders supporters, the idea of Joe Biden is easy to work with is not necessarily a great selling point.
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, of course not. And then that goes back to the idea that things were working well for the majority of Americans before Donald Trump, which is not necessarily the truth and what is motivating a lot of folks to turn out and vote for Sanders right now.
I have concerns about Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, because we have seen Joe Biden campaign for president for the last six plus months and there's no -- nothing to suggest that he will be a different candidate going forward than the one that he has been before.
I like Joe Biden very much. I think that he has the ability to be emotionally resonant more than just about anybody else in the field right now. And there is -- Democrats are afraid. Not just Democrats, people who would call themselves progressive, people who would call themselves anti-Trump, people who genuinely care about their neighbors and their families and the direction of this country, they're terrified.
There is an existential terror and Joe Biden can offer a reassuring presence like that that I think is -- I can see how that is appealing to people. Bernie Sanders is not offering a reassuring presence, he's offering a revolution. And I can see why that's appealing to people, too.
MCAULIFFE: Let me just say this about working with people. You know, there's campaigning and then there's governing. Once you get elected and you put your hand up, when I got elected governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, that day I was the governor of every single person in that state.
I had to work with Republicans. I had a very Republican legislature. I got 70 plus percent of my governor's bills passed for the Republican legislature, because I built relationships. That, I can't tell you how important.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You sound like Joe Biden.
MCAULIFFE: Relationships are important. And to just put that aside means people have no idea what it means to govern a country or a state. You have to build --
BORGER: Can we just talk about --
COOPER: I just want to show -- I just want to quickly look at the race in Tennessee. Sanders at 24.1 percent, Mike Bloomberg 24.0 percent, this is probably the best show so far for Bloomberg not in American (INAUDIBLE).
BORGER: But we should get back to tonight, because we haven't heard from everything yet before we anoint Joe Biden the nominee.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, obviously at Texas and California.
BORGER: Well, this is -- I want to talk about Texas, because we've been talking about California, a delegate rich, 415 delegates and all of that. Texas, 228 pledged delegates. This is becoming much more important tonight given what we see going on with Joe Biden. If Joe Biden -- he got Beto -- talk about endorsements, he got Beto O'Rourke's endorsement last night.
COOPER: And by the way, we have the Texas so far at 6 percent of the vote in, Biden 26.7, Sanders 26.1, Bloomberg at 20.8.
BORGER: So the people in the Biden campaign that I've spoken with say that they looked at Texas as a target of opportunity. I don't think they expected to win it, but I don't know. And if they can do very well in Texas, then the question may not be Biden's margin number two to Sanders, but it could be Sanders to Biden. And that, you know, heading into California, if there's a big split there, this could be very close.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's very early.
COOPER: We also I don't know where those votes are.
BORGER: We don't. We don't.
JONES: Those numbers are very, very disturbing. If you're part of the Sanders team, you've been saying, hey, listen, fine, take Alabama, great. That's the Deep South. But wait until you get to Texas. Wait until you get to our stronghold. Our firewall will be Texas and California. Those numbers for Sanders do not look good in Texas at 26 percent.
COOPER: But again, it is only 6 percent.
JONES: Very early.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's what we know. Here's what we know. We know that Biden is having a very good night in these more eastern states. He's going to pile up --
BORGER: That's right.
AXELROD: -- a fair number of delegates here. And clearly, Bernie Sanders can't split Texas --
AXELROD: -- and get to where he wants to get to tonight. But I just -- I've got to respond to one thing that you said Abdul, because it intrigued me. You said the -- you talked about the eight years of growing inequality before Trump, meaning Obama. And I'm just wondering, do you think that's a winning strategy for Sanders to run against the Obama presidency?
Because Obama -- I was there when he became president and we were dealing with the greatest economic collapse since the great depression, which may have had something to do with some of the problems that we had. So I'm just -- but that was a personal note on the side. But as an analytical matter, I mean, do you think that what Sanders should do is now sharpen his critique of Obama and the Obama administration?
EL-SAYED: One of the things I admire about the race that you guys ran in 2008 is that you ran for the future. You didn't run back into the history. I worry that right now the whole question is about how do we move with reference to Barack Obama. That's been Joe Biden's entire campaign message. I was with Obama. I was the one he picked. And so let's run to the future, the future of the party.
AXELROD: I think that's a smart strategy. But you were the one who brought up the eight years before Trump, so I didn't --
EL-SAYED: And I think we shouldn't go backwards.
COOPER: OK. Let's take a quick break. There are a lot of delegates at stake in the next round of contest. Our polling place is close soon in Texas in about 19 minutes from now, Colorado, Minnesota. We'll get results, possibly projections at the top of the hour.
BLITZER: We have a key race alert right now. Let's take a look at what's going on. Tight in Texas, 12 percent of the estimated vote is in. Joe Biden is slightly ahead of Bernie Sanders by about 1,000 votes, 26.2 percent to 25.8 percent for Sanders, Bloomberg with 21.3 percent, the rest trail.
Let's take a look at Tennessee, also very tight, 16 percent of the vote now in. Bernie Sanders slightly ahead of Joe Biden, 24.4 percent to 23.8 percent, Bloomberg close behind 23.1 percent, the rest trail.
In Massachusetts right now, look at this, Joe Biden is ahead 35.7 percent, Bernie Sanders in second place 23.4 percent, Elizabeth Warren in third place, this is her home state, 20.8 percent, Bloomberg at 13.2 percent. Three percent of the vote is in, in Massachusetts.
In Oklahoma right now, 5 percent of the vote is in. Biden is on top with 25.3 percent, Bernie Sanders 20.9 percent, Bloomberg close behind 19.4 percent, the rest are trailing right now.
Arkansas, look at this. Arkansas -- very, very early in Arkansas right now, but Joe Biden is ahead with 40.6 percent, Bloomberg 17.9 percent, Bernie Sanders 16 percent, the rest trail right now.
Let's take a look at Maine, 2 percent of the vote is in, very early there as well. But Biden is ahead 37.1 percent, Bernie Sanders 33.6 percent, the rest of the candidates right now trailing in Maine.
Let's go over to John King who's watching all of this very closely. Give us the big picture as you see it, John, right now.
KING: The big picture, the big picture right now is that Joe Biden got what he wanted at the beginning of the night in Virginia, and in North Carolina, and in Alabama, and in Arkansas. The question now is, can he sustain it? Some of the great battles going on right now.
Look at the competitive race in Tennessee, we're up to 16 percent. Sanders at 24, Biden at 24 if you round it up, about a half point there, Bloomberg at 23. So a very, very close race, 492-vote lead of Bernie Sanders over Joe Biden with Mayor Bloomberg certainly in play. And you just see it play out in the counties, right?
The dark blue is Joe Biden, the lighter blue is Bernie Sanders, the more purple is Michael Bloomberg. There's a fight right now going on. One of the things you look at here, though, Nashville, still nothing, right?
The second largest county, Davidson County, remember, you had the tornado strike nearby there early today. Some polls were kept open late. So our thoughts and prayers for those people as well. We'll see when the votes come in later.
You move over here in Knoxville, the third largest county right here, Knox County, and you see Senator Sanders there with about 30 percent if you round up a little bit, Bloomberg at 20. We'll watch as this plays out, 64 delegates, not a small basket of delegates and it looks like you'll have a fight to split them if this holds up. But we're only up to 17 percent in the state of Tennessee.
I just want to pop down here and look and see where we are in Alabama. This is the state that Biden is going to win quite handily. The issue here, one of the reasons you keep looking even after you called the state, will Bloomberg stay viable and will he get some delegates? We'll see. It's early, very early in the vote count there as we go through it.
BLITZER: Take a look at the delegate count first while we have --
KING: Sure. Come back out. If you look at the delegates where we are right now, you have Joe Biden at 130, Bernie Sanders at 83. We have a long, long way to go in counting delegates, not only tonight. California's delegates sometimes takes several days, the count we get out there.
So if you're Joe Biden, if you're happy because you expect Senator Sanders to do better as we move to the west, but Joe Biden with a lead tonight and a lead overall in the delegate race.
Texas, Biden had a small lead just moments ago. Bernie Sanders has the lead now. This is one of the fascinating parts of a live election night, especially when things are tight in some of these states. Biden was ahead, now Sanders is ahead by 4,700 votes there.
The fact that this is so competitive and close in Texas is a bit of a surprise to some people. If you went back a week or two ago, people would not have thought this. Again, this is a state, Texas, where at least -- with 15 percent of the vote in, Bloomberg is above the 15 percent viability, could get some delegates there.
All of the candidates at the end of the night have to make a question, especially if you're Bloomberg or Senator Warren, how many states did you rich viability? How many states did you get delegates? Is there a path to stay in? Are you fighting for a contested convention? Those would be the conversations hours from now when we get through the rest of these votes, but let's just go through. Joe Biden was leading moments ago in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren has pulled ahead as we get up to 6 percent reporting in her home state, a state she has to win on Super Tuesday. A three-way contest, Warren now at 6 percent, she's ahead with 33 percent, 6,000 vote lead, Wolf, over Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
I just want to check a little bit more here as we go back to Maine. Sometimes results start to pile and that's not the case in Maine. It has been stuck at 2 percent for quite some time.
So if you look at the map regionally, a fight up here in New England, Maine is the battleground, Massachusetts is a battleground. In the mid-Atlantic, the beginning of a southern sweep here, Joe Biden now pulled ahead in Tennessee. Just moments ago Sanders was ahead. This comes in a seesaw back and forth, it appears. Biden with 400 votes there, Senator Sanders ahead early on in Texas, Wolf, as the count continues.
BLITZER: Certainly does. We're getting closer and closer to another critical hour on the Super Tuesday. At 9:00 Eastern, all polls close in Texas, Colorado and Minnesota, 370 delegates are up for grabs. More than half in Texas, that's the second biggest prize of the night. That's a third (ph) portion of the delegates available tonight. More than 1,300, about one third of all the delegates awarded during the entire primary season. Jake, what are you looking for in the coming hour?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a significant hour with all those Texas delegates, 228 of them at stake. Bernie Sanders has been aiming for strong showings as we move west, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota. But Texas may turn out to be something of a showdown.
Joe Biden was there just last night fighting for a chunk of the state's huge pool of delegates. We'll also see if Biden blunts Sanders support up north in Minnesota, home states Amy Klobuchar who is now out of the race and backing Biden. Let's get the latest on the Biden campaign from Arlette Saenz. Arlette?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Joe Biden campaign is feeling confident right on this early projections and what Texas right around the corner, Joe Biden was asked if he would win in that state. He said that he's superstitious and doesn't like to make predictions on election or primary days. But just last week, Biden told me that he did think Texas is a state that he could win.
Now, the Biden campaign is happy about his performance in a lot of these districts that they say they've been targeting all along this campaign, saying they're targeting delegate rich congressional districts. That's what the campaign manager told me. And they are hoping that these early returns that are coming in this evening, these early projections that will carry them through in the later evening.
TAPPER: All right, Arlette Saenz with the Biden campaign in California. Let's go to Sanders headquarters right now where we find Ryan Nobles. Ryan?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. And as you mentioned, the Sanders campaign hoping for strength as this contest move west. And in fact, Senior Advisor Jeff Weaver who's been with Bernie Sanders for a long time told me that he expected that the first part of this night would be tough for Sanders supporters.
He described it as, I will say this about tonight, you have to eat your vegetables first. Meaning that you've got to get through the tough stuff before you can get through the nights that were -- or the contest, I should say, where they feel they're going to do much better.
And to that end, Sanders aide telling me that they believe that we may not have a full picture of the results tonight. In fact, that Sanders aide telling me that there are many people that may go to bed tonight at 10:00 p.m. and wake up tomorrow morning with a much different race. So Jake, the Sanders campaign preparing for a long haul here tonight on Super Tuesday.
TAPPER: Well, that's certainly right. I mean, with the big -- that big prize out in the west coast of California. Thanks so much, Ryan.
Let's go to MJ Lee who's with the Bloomberg campaign. MJ, Bloomberg showing some strength in some of these southern states, such as Tennessee.
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Mike Bloomberg actually just left the stage. He spoke to supporters here in Florida, and he said that regardless of what the delegate map ends up being at the end of this night that he feels like he has achieved something significant, that he went very quickly from being nowhere in the polls to becoming a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. So certainly he was trying to sound very upbeat in front of his supporters, though he was nowhere close to sounding victorious.
Now, I just want to flag a conversation that reporters here had with Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, a little earlier in the night. When we asked him, is there any chance that Mike Bloomberg might drop out tonight? He said, are you kidding me? Absolutely not. But he also did say that, of course, we are going to be reassessing where there campaign is headed after they have more of the result.
And he also had some very kind words for former Vice President Joe Biden. He said that he himself personally sees him as one of the most decent public servant that he himself personally wrote a check to Joe Biden before his boss got into this race, and that he expects one of them, meaning Biden or Bloomberg, to eventually be the nominee.
I think this is just an important thing to note, because as you know, Mike Bloomberg has previously said that he will support whoever the eventual nominee is, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, MJ Lee with the Bloomberg campaign, thank you so much. Dana, as we approach the top of the hour, five minutes left, what are you looking for? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Texas I'm looking for whether or not Mike Bloomberg takes moderate votes from Joe Biden, and whether that could help hand Bernie Sanders a victory.
Now, Bloomberg has not taken wins away from Biden tonight, though it is early, the impact on the delegate count so far seems to be minimal. The question is whether Texas, the second biggest delegate haul of the night, could be different when it comes to impact.
Now coming into tonight, team Biden said that they are fearful that Bloomberg could really splinter the moderate vote in states like Texas. And of course, Texas is a place where Bernie Sanders came into the night when he came to the polls incredibly strong.
TAPPER: Yes. His victory speech the night of the Nevada caucus was in San Antonio, I believe. David Chalian, what are you looking for?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Jake, we're taking a look at some of these upcoming states. In Minnesota, we checked in with voters on when they made up their mind. Take look at this, 55percent, a majority, in just the last few days, 45 percent said earlier than that.
In Texas, and this is really interesting. Take a look, you see 22 percent just in the last few days, 77 percent earlier than that. We expect roughly half the vote in Texas to be absentee or early vote, so a lot of that vote gets banked. You see here 77 percent of voters in Texas tell us they decided earlier than the last few days.
Taking a look in Colorado, are you looking for somebody who could defeat Trump or someone who agrees with you on the issues, not even close. 69 percent of Colorado Democratic primary voters today say they want someone who can beat Trump, only 28 percent say they agree on the issues.
And look at that same question in Texas. It's not as dramatic of a split, but it's still a majority. 56 percent of Texas Democrats looking for a Trump defeater, that's what they want when they go to the polls today, 41 percent looking for someone who agrees with you on the issues. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. David, thanks very much. John, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Texas the second biggest prize of the night, they're closing at the top of the hour.
KING: Right. And so let's just quickly look at Colorado. It's one of the states that will be a swing state in the presidential election. Come the general election primary, they don't always tell you much about that, but you want to see who's competitive.
Obviously the Denver suburbs, one of the big places we're going to look there, again, a place where Senator Warren thought she could compete, a place where Mayor Bloomberg spent a lot of money, Sanders obviously looking a win out there. If you go back in time and look at the map, Senator Sanders won Colorado and Utah back in the last go- round. He hopes to repeat that this go-round.
You mentioned Texas. Fascinating race down here, except Senator Sanders in recent minutes has started to pull away a little bit, 20 percent reporting, he's now up at 29 to 22.5, 23 if you want to round it up, for the former Vice President. Mayor Bloomberg here, just shy of 18 percent.
Interesting to keep an eye on this again throughout the night, 15 percent makes you viable, means you get proportional delegates. Elizabeth Warren right on the cusp right now at 20 percent in Texas, a very long way to go. As you can see, most of the map still not filled in.
One place you do look down here, Travis County, which is where Austin is. It's a liberal strong hold. Senator Sanders running it up there at 72 percent. We'll see how this plays out as we fill in the state of Texas.
I just want to keep looking around the map here as we go, Joe Biden starting to stretch it out here as you look at the results in Oklahoma, 29 percent to 21 percent, but only 9 percent reporting. You see some Bloomberg counties here. The question is, does he stay, again, above 15?
You're looking at the winner, obviously, that's the most important person. But then as you look down, are they above 15 percent? Do they get delegates? That's the big complication tonight doing the delegate math, 1,344 at stake when you go through it.
Let's go back across the country, look at Maine. Slow count in Maine tonight. They're only at 3 percent here in Maine right now. Joe Biden with a lead, Senator Sanders there, Mike Bloomberg right at the cusp for viability. Disappointing at the moment for Senator Warren, but again, we're only at 3 percent in Maine.
Let's deep down to her home state at Massachusetts. Few moments ago when Wolf was her, Senator Warren had pulled ahead, now Joe Biden is back ahead, a seesaw in Tennessee, a seesaw in Massachusetts. Joe Biden on top here by 2,300 votes and some change over now, Senator Sanders, Warren has slipped back to third.
This one has been bouncing around a little bit. As you can see in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, still a lot out, including the city of Boston. So we have a long way to go here where the big bulk of votes in Massachusetts, but back and forth in Elizabeth Warren's home state.
If you pull it out and look, the Virginia count is almost done. I show you this. We called the state a long time ago just to show you the impressive sweep of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Joe Biden, 53 percent of the vote right there. Senator Sanders will get some delegates. He's at 23.
Warren and Bloomberg, very disappointing, especially for Bloomberg in a state where he invested a lot of money, started his campaign, really wanted to come out in Virginia with some of the delegates. He is below the viability line and that will not happen. He moves through some of the other states.
I just want to check this one again, because it's been swinging back. Biden starting open up a little bit here in Tennessee with 21 percent reporting. We'll see if that hold. Let's check one more time on Texas before we give it back. Senator Sanders with 7 point lead in Texas right now.
And Arkansas had been blue for Biden, now Senator Sanders at 139 votes ahead, but we're only at 7 percent. Again, we got a lot of states that are in play, a lot of states that are early on. They're flipping back and forth. We just start to fill it in, Wolf. Fayetteville for Sanders. We're still waiting on Little Rock, Arkansas among the states. We still have some counting to do.
BLITZER: We certainly do. We're coming up on 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Polls will close in Texas, Colorado and Minnesota. 370 delegates are up for grabs. That's more than -- more than half of them --