NATIONAL NEWS

Biden clinches Democratic nomination; Trump on course for enough delegates for party’s nod

Mar 12, 2024, 5:26 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are expected to clinch their respective parti...

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are expected to clinch their respective parties’ 2024 nominations, with voting taking place in four additional states. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN)Joe Biden has officially clinched the Democratic nomination for president, CNN projects, allowing him to fully pivot to the general election campaign as he tries to win a second term. His likely Republican opponent, Donald Trump, is also on course Tuesday to secure his party’s presidential nod.

Democrats and Republicans are casting ballots in presidential primaries in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington. Also Tuesday, Hawaii Republicans are holding caucuses, while voting wraps up in the primary for Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party for Americans living overseas. Biden is the projected winner of the Democratic primary in the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, held earlier Tuesday.

The shorter slate of elections follows last week’s Super Tuesday, when Biden and Trump dominated across the map, putting both on the cusp of winning a majority of the delegates needed to be crowned their parties’ presumptive nominees. Their rematch – long anticipated, but hardly clamored for – is broadly expected to mirror the 2020 campaign, though Trump will run this time under the specter of 91 felony charges related to allegations that he plotted to overturn his 2020 election defeat; played a lead role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol; illegally took classified documents from the White House; and covered up hush money payments to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 election.

Though he now has a record of accomplishments and missteps for voters to weigh, Biden is so far running a similar campaign to 2020 – appealing to concerns over Trump’s authoritarian behavior and a middling economy. Unlike Trump, the president never faced a serious, well-funded primary challenge, with Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, his lone rival in elected office, dropping out and endorsing Biden last week.

(Author Marianne Williamson, who unsuspended her campaign late last month, remains in the race, as does venture capitalist Jason Palmer, who defeated Biden in the American Samoa caucuses last week.)

Biden’s main opposition has come not from any candidate but from more general intraparty anxiety over his age and from progressives’ outrage over the administration’s support for Israel during its monthslong war against Hamas in Gaza. The president has also come under some scrutiny following the release of special counsel Robert Hur’s report, which concluded that Biden mishandled and improperly disclosed classified information after leaving the vice presidency. But no charges were filed, with Hur, who testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill, saying he didn’t believe there was enough evidence to charge Biden with a crime.

On the GOP side, Trump has long been seen as the prohibitive favorite despite competition from a collection of GOP challengers, including governors, senators, right-wing provocateurs and his own former vice president, Mike Pence.

The last to succumb was former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who left the Republican race last week after a string of Super Tuesday losses but did not endorse Trump on the way out. Haley said the former president needed “to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him.” Similar to Biden, Trump will need to win over skeptical portions of his own base to match past levels of support.

While there is little drama remaining as to the outcome, the primaries in Georgia will provide both candidates with a gut check ahead of their anticipated November clash.

Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes in 2020 – the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump’s defeat touched off a series of alleged efforts, by him and his allies, to subvert the election result. Those efforts are now wrapped up in a wide-ranging conspiracy indictment set to be tried in Fulton County, home to most of Atlanta.

Both candidates spent parts of their weekend in the Peach State, where they led competing rallies – about 60 miles apart – on Saturday.

“My lifetime has taught me to embrace the future of freedom and democracy,” Biden said at a rally in Atlanta. “But we all know Donald Trump sees a different America, an American story of resentment, revenge and retribution. That’s not me, that’s not you.”

Trump, in his visit to Rome, Georgia, slammed Biden over what he described as an “angry, dark, hate-filled rant” of a State of the Union speech, which the president gave Thursday. Trump also kept up his criticism over Democrats’ handling of the southern border and the economy.

Biden has been on a post-State of the Union tour of swing states, first going to Pennsylvania on Friday before Georgia and then New Hampshire on Monday. Trump is bound for Dayton, Ohio, this weekend, when he will host a rally for businessman Bernie Moreno, his endorsed candidate in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Ohio election is among several seen as critical to Democratic hopes of holding the Senate.

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Biden clinches Democratic nomination; Trump on course for enough delegates for party’s nod