Washington state voters appear poised to hand victory in the March 10 primary to former Vice President Joe Biden, despite expectations that the state would once again go to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
As of March 17, Biden was 1.4 percent ahead of Sanders. Prognosticators called it for Biden within days of voting, even as additional ballots flowed in.
Of the 10 states that voted on “Big Tuesday,” Washington wasn’t the focus. Washington’s overall delegate haul isn’t huge in the grand scheme of the election, and all eyes were on the results in swing-state Michigan. Biden won there handily, cementing his position as the front-runner.
However, Washington was an interesting case because Sanders won the caucuses in 2016, securing the state’s delegates. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the nonbinding primary, in which significantly more people weighed in.
In 2020, Washington switched it up, dispensing with the less-democratic caucus and instead using the primary to distribute delegates. Sanders came within spitting distance of Biden, but ultimately couldn’t eke out a win in a state that many assumed was his.
Sanders acknowledged that Big Tuesday was a loss for his campaign in a speech, but did not drop out of the race.
Biden and Sanders further established themselves as very different candidates in a debate at CNN studios, without an audience to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
Washington, shut down
Late Sunday, March 15, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all restaurants, event venues and bars to close immediately for everything but takeout, an escalation in restrictions on Washingtonians’ movement and activities aimed at arresting the spread of coronavirus.
The new order comes on top of school closures and bans on social gatherings of 250 people or more throughout the state. King County’s Public Health officer went further, ordering an end to groups of more than 50 people unless strict rules around hygiene requirements were met.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people avoid gatherings of more than 50 people for at least eight weeks. On March 16, the White House recommended people avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
Mayor Jenny Durkan also ordered a 30-day moratorium on evictions as more and more Seattleites lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus shutdown. Critically, the order still means that tenants owe monthly rent, and allows landlords to file for eviction the moment the moratorium ends.
The order protects tenants from eviction only in the case of nonpayment of rent. Other lease violations are still eligible.
The added restrictions come after Washington officials announced the state had 904 confirmed cases and 48 deaths.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read more in the Mar. 18 - 24, 2020 issue.