Former Vice President Joe Biden prevailed over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to receive the Democratic presidential nod from Florida on Tuesday.
Biden was predicted to win the majority of Florida’s votes because of his support among older black voters and moderate Democrats, according to a CNN analysis. He received almost 62 percent of the votes and Sanders received nearly 23 percent. 0.5 percent of the votes went to Tulsi Gabbard, and the rest went to candidates no longer in the race.
Abigail Ladwig-Conway traveled home to Tallahassee on Tuesday to cast her ballot for Sanders. She said she agreed with his plan for Medicare For All, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I do think on some level that health care needs to be made more available for the majority of the country,” the 20-year-old UF history junior said. “And I think that he’s the only candidate right now who really is focusing on that.”
However, she did predict that Biden would win the primary because of a higher turnout among older voters, who are more likely to vote for him.
Even in the midst of COVID-19, the two main Democratic candidates took to the Internet to continue rallying.
Biden’s first digital rally was on Friday, but it experienced multiple technical difficulties with a late start and audio failures. On the other hand, Sanders held a successful live stream on Twitch during the primaries, in which he addressed concerns from COVID-19.
After his win, Biden also made a public statement about the coronavirus.
“This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, and every aspect of this campaign,” he stated. “It’s going to require leadership and cooperation from every level of government.”
Many Floridians were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause lower voter turnout on election day. However, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said voting would occur as normal. Back in 2016, the voter turnout for Alachua County was 44 percent. For the 2020 primary, it was about 27 percent.
As a result, several social organizations and individuals, including UF student Acacia Williams, jointly sued Florida, stating that voters were disenfranchised because the state didn’t extend the deadline for vote-by-mail during the public health crisis.
Looking ahead, although Biden won the primary, Florida has historically been a swing state, which means Florida’s electoral votes have been won by Democratic or Republican presidential nominees throughout the years.
To win the presidency, Biden will need to appease Florida’s registered voters.
About 35 percent of the state’s voters are registered Republicans and 37 percent are registered Democrats, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
While 62 percent of Florida voters are white, Hispanics are the largest minority voting group with about 17 percent. Black Floridians make up 13 percent of voters, Asians make up 2 percent and 6 percent are multiracial, of another race or didn’t have their race listed.
Overall in Florida, many of Biden’s most supportive voters were over the age of 65, moderate Democrats and black voters, according to a primary poll conducted by CNN.
Daniel Gallup, the co-founder of UF Students for Biden, originally supported Pete Buttigieg for president until the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor's exit from the race.
Now the 19-year-old UF political science freshman has rallied behind the candidate who he believes has fostered the same message of togetherness that Buttigieg did.
“We realize there’s a necessity that we do all we can to make sure that we unify as a Democratic party behind whoever the candidate is,” he said. “And we do recognize that there are other people our age who feel the same way.”
Contact Samantha Chery at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SammyChery4276.
FILE - In this June 27, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak at the same time during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. What might be the final showdown between the two very different Democratic candidates takes place Tuesday, March 17, 2020, during Florida's presidential primary. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)