Biden decisively wins Florida primary

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE scored a decisive victory in Florida on Tuesday, trouncing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE (I-Vt.) in the country’s third-most populous state and a critical general election battleground.

The race in Florida was a blowout for Biden. With about 76 percent of precincts reporting, the former vice president led Sanders by nearly 40 percentage points.

Heading into Tuesday’s primary, which took place amid coronavirus fears, there was little doubt that Biden would capture Florida and a large portion of its 219 pledged delegates.

His victory is likely to bolster his argument that he is the candidate best equipped to win in a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE narrowly won in the 2016 general election.

Sanders, for his part, was not expecting a win in Florida, a state that he lost in his 2016 primary bid against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration MORE by more than 30 points. But his political fortunes in the state on Tuesday fared even worse than they did four years ago.

Biden was on track to beat Sanders in a handful of counties — mostly in North Florida and the Panhandle — that the Vermont senator won in 2016.

The primary electorate on Tuesday was largely favorable to Biden. Black and Hispanic voters made up about half of those who cast ballots in the nominating contest, and self-described moderates accounted for a plurality of the vote, according to exit polling.

Biden also won Illinois, a race that was called soon after Florida was projected to go to Biden.

Arizona is the third state voting on Tuesday, with polls set to close at 10 p.m. ET. Biden is favored to win the state as well.

Florida, however, holds symbolic value in the race. Not only is it the nation’s largest and most volatile swing state in general elections, but it is nominally President Trump’s home state. The president, who owns several properties in Florida, claimed residency status there last year.

Updated at 8:31 p.m.