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Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Biden Celebrates Primary Wins In Philly

Matt Rourke
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, speaks to members of the press at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Former vice president Joe Biden had a good night Tuesday. 

As of midnight, he had won Mississippi, Missouri, the key swing state of Michigan and was leading in Idaho. It was too soon to call races in Washington and North Dakota.

Biden declared that his campaign “is taking off” but celebrating those victories was a little more difficult.

After canceling a planned rally in Cleveland, Ohio over concerns the large crowd could spread coronavirus, Biden’s campaign made a last-minute detour to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia where, Biden noted, “we announced our campaign on the front end.”

Biden wasn’t the only one improvising Tuesday.

His opponent, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, also called off his primary night event in Cleveland. Sanders opted to head home to Burlington, Vt., but unlike Biden, didn’t make any public appearances as returns came in.

Biden’s campaign has been on an upswing since his Super Tuesday wins a week ago.

His victory in Michigan — a state that Sanders won in 2016 — is the latest evidence that some of thewhite, working-class voters who once supported Sanders now back Biden.

Biden also won by wide margins in Mississippi and Missouri. Both states are home to large numbers of Black voters, and the New York Times reported that exit polls in Mississippi, for one, showed thatmore than 80 percent of African Americans cast ballots for Biden.

In Philadelphia, the former vice president concentrated on that apparent momentum.

“Just over a week ago, many of the pundits declared that this candidacy was dead,” he said. “Now we’re very much alive.”

Anaverage of recent national polls puts Biden eighteen points ahead of Sanders.

Next week Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Ohio hold their primaries.