Biden beats Sanders to win Alaska Democratic primary

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Joe Biden

FILE – In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del. Biden has won the Alaska Democrats’ party-run presidential primary, defeating Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday, April 11, days after Sanders suspended his campaign. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Joe Biden has won the Alaska Democrats’ party-run presidential primary, beating Sen. Bernie Sanders days after Sanders suspended his campaign.

Biden beat Sanders Saturday 55.3% to 44.7%. A total of 19,759 votes were cast.

Biden gets 11 delegates and Sanders gets 4. Sanders would have won more delegates but after ending his bid for the nomination last week, Sanders is no longer eligible to win delegates based on the statewide vote in primaries and caucuses, according to Democratic National Committee rules. Sanders is, however, still eligible to win delegates based on vote totals in individual congressional districts, which is why the AP allocated four delegate to Sanders in Alaska.

Overall, Biden has 1,228 delegates and Sanders has 918, according to the count by The Associated Press.

Casey Steinau, chairwoman of the state party, said Sanders, along with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also have suspended their campaigns, asked to be included in the tallies.

Sanders suspended his campaign this week but said he would keep his name on the ballot in states that haven’t yet voted. He aims to collect delegates as part of an effort to influence the party’s platform at this year’s Democratic National Convention.

Sanders won the state party’s caucuses in 2016, over Hillary Clinton.

The Alaska primary originally was scheduled for April 4, but concerns with COVID-19 upended plans. In response, the party, which had planned to offer voting by mail and at in-person locations, went exclusively to a vote-by-mail system.

The primary itself was new to Alaska Democrats, who moved from their traditional caucuses to a primary for this year’s race in a move Steinau said was aimed at increasing participation. It used rank-choice ballots.

The party said it sent in early March ballots to every person who was registered as a Democrat as of mid-February, more than 71,000. The party also included voter registration forms and downloadable ballots on its website.

Ballots had to be received by Friday to be counted, the party said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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