Voters cast their ballots at the Arcata Community Center March 3. Voters around the country flocked to their local polling places Tuesday for the Democratic primary. | Photo by Kris Nagel

Sanders Wins California Primary

Sanders takes over 40 percent of Humboldt vote

Sanders takes over 40 percent of Humboldt vote

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the California primary. With more than 400 delegates up for grabs, Sanders consistently polled higher for California Democrats leading up to the primary. Sanders’ progressive platform drew a coalition of voters and strong support from unions across the country.

Tuesday night marked the biggest event in the primary season. Fourteen states plus American Samoa held primaries Tuesday, with 1,357 delegates to be allocated. That is just over a third of the delegate total needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Humboldt County overwhelmingly voted for Sanders. Part of California’s second congressional district, Humboldt voters choose six delegates to send to the Democratic National Convention in July. Tuesday night reports around 9:30 p.m. showed Sanders leading Humboldt with 42.4% of the vote, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with 14.5%.

Sanders led California overall with 28.7% of the vote. Michael Bloomberg was second with 18.8%. Biden was third at 17.2%.

Biden had a surprising surge in support in other states. Biden is running as a moderate, citing the need to beat President Donald Trump in the general election. Though Sanders draws support from demographics with generally low-voter turnout, Biden’s campaign claims a candidate running too far to the left will discourage many potential Democratic voters from showing up in November.

“I believe that Sanders is still going to be the delegate leader. And he has the enthusiastic base needed to beat Trump.”

Billy Cook

This boost in support may be a result of the recent dropouts of Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Both candidates were running moderate campaigns similar to Biden’s. Sanders had been accumulating significant momentum in the early primary states. Before Tuesday, many viewed Biden’s campaign as an insignificant challenge to Sanders’ campaign.

One of Humboldt County for Bernie 2020’s lead organizers, Billy Cook, remained hopeful that Sanders will win the nomination.

“I believe that Sanders is still going to be the delegate leader,” Cook said. “And he has the enthusiastic base needed to beat Trump.”

Since 2016, Sanders has drawn support around his long-standing progressive platform. His main campaign points are Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Many Humboldt residents cited these policies as the main draw to support Sanders.

Sanders supporters in Humboldt County have been hard at work campaigning to get residents to vote for Sanders. They have regularly sent crews to canvass Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville and Blue Lake. One of their strategies is to reach out to voters face-to-face. A few members of the group have also set up tables with voting and candidate information in pedestrian areas around Humboldt as well.

Another organizer for Sanders-supporters in Humboldt, Evan T. Nixon, said Super Tuesday made the race more complicated. Nixon said that the strategy for organizers in Humboldt is going to change. Their focus will shift to states that have not yet voted in the primary, like Oregon and Arizona.

“We need,” Nixon said, “to just hit the phones.”

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