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Biden beats Sanders in Wisconsin primary

Biden beats Sanders in Wisconsin primary
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE scored a decisive victory in Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary on Monday, a win that came nearly a week after voters in the state headed to their polling places in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

With 27 percent of precincts reporting, Biden was leading Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo MORE (I-Vt.) 65 percent to 29 percent.

Biden’s win in Wisconsin did not come as a surprise. Polls in the lead-up to the nominating contest showed him with a sizable lead over Sanders.

His victory also does little to change the state of the race; Sanders suspended his campaign last week, a day after Wisconsin voters went to the polls following an eleventh-hour legal wrangle over the election date.

Still, Biden’s victory in Wisconsin carries enormous symbolic value for the former vice president. Democrats are eager to win the state in the November general election after President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE pulled off a surprise victory there in 2016.

Wisconsin was considered part of the Democrats' "blue wall" in 2016 — Democratic-leaning states that the party had counted on to power Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Portman planned exit sets off Ohio free-for-all Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick MORE to victory.

But in a shocking turn, Trump carried Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and eventually shut out Clinton in the race for the White House.

The results of the Wisconsin primary on Monday come after the state held elections on April 7 despite last-minute efforts by Gov. Tony Evers (D) to postpone voting amid fears that it could facilitate the spread of the coronavirus.

In the days and weeks before the Wisconsin primary, several states moved to delay scheduled nominating contests out of caution.

Evers moved to unilaterally delay voting through an executive order, but he was rebuked by the state Supreme Court, which ordered the election to take place as scheduled.

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The state’s Republican-controlled legislature had insisted that voting in Wisconsin move forward, given that the state was also slated to hold a handful of statewide and municipal elections, including a race for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Voters who went to cast their ballots in person were met with drama. Hundreds of precincts were closed amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, and many voters were forced to wait in line for hours to cast their ballots.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission delayed the reporting of results until Monday to account for a surge in absentee ballots.

Voting rights advocates and many Democrats have pointed to Wisconsin’s chaotic elections in recent days to call for sweeping election reforms, including efforts to expand mail-in voting ahead of the general election.

Regardless of the outcome, Biden has all but shored up his position as the Democratic nominee. He faces no opposition in the primary contest moving forward, and on Monday he scored the endorsement of Sanders.

Sanders is still on track to win at least a few delegates in Wisconsin. During his departure speech last week, Sanders said he would remain on upcoming ballots in order to gain leverage about the platform at the Democratic Party's upcoming convention.

Wisconsin is set to award 84 pledged delegates.

Updated at 6:34 p.m.