March 10 primaries live updates: Biden, Sanders cancel events amid coronavirus concerns

(NEW YORK) — Next Democratic primary in Michigan as Joe Biden picks up endorsementSen. Kamala Harris endorsed the former vice president fresh off his Super Tuesday momentum as Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Michigan.

Primary voters in the key battleground state of Michigan as well as Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota and Washington state head to the polls in a closely watched contest that could help determine the next phase of the Democratic race for the presidential nomination.

There are 352 delegates up for grabs across the six states.

Stakes are especially high for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a progressive-standard-bearer who is lagging behind former Vice President Joe Biden in delegates. Sanders is hoping that Michigan will offer a repeat of his 2016 upset when he eked out a win against former Secretary of State of Hillary Clinton– who was favored to win the state during the primary contests.

Biden, meanwhile, has the wind at his back having netted a number of moderate endorsements. He has pointed to this growing list of such people as former competitors Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif as a sign that he is better equipped to take on the White House, arguing that he is the only candidate who can beat Trump.

Here’s how the night is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.

5:16 p.m. Biden prevails in trust to handle a major crisis in preliminary exit poll results

Former Vice President Joe Biden prevails in trust to handle a major crisis in preliminary exit poll results, leading Bernie Sanders on the question by 34 percentage points among voters today in Missouri, 19 points in Washington state and 19 points, as well, among today’s voters in Michigan.

While not necessarily indicating vote preferences, the margins are substantial – 61-27% for Biden over Sanders in trust to handle a major crisis in Missouri, 46-27% in Washington (with 21 percent selecting Elizabeth Warren, who’s dropped out of the race), and 51-32% among in-person voters today in Michigan. The question wasn’t asked in the fourth state with exit polls today, Mississippi.

The Michigan results require an important caveat: The National Election Pool reports that a sampling problem has prevented it from including telephone survey results – produced to capture the views of early voters – in the Michigan exit poll, as intended. As such the exit poll does not include the views of early voters there, an estimated 40 percent of all voters in the primary there.

The “trust in a crisis” question may be especially relevant given concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States. Washington state has been an epicenter of the outbreak, and there a vast 82 percent are very or somewhat concerned about it, including 38 percent “very” concerned. Concern is higher among older voters, typically a strong group for Biden.

ABC News’ Polling Director Gary Langer reporting.

4:44 p.m. Biden campaign also cancels rally tonight in Cleveland

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is also canceling their rally tonight in Cleveland.

“In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events. In the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland this. Additional details on where Vice President Biden will address the press tonight are forthcoming,” Communications Director and Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield tweeted.

ABC News’ Johnny Verhovek reporting.

4:29 p.m. Delay expected in Michigan primary results after new law

Michigan election officials are preparing for a delay in the primary results after there was a surge in absentee ballots sent in this year.

The high volume of absentee ballots comes after “unprecedented shift in the way that people have been voting,” according to a spokesperson for the secretary of state.

The state amended its constitution in 2018 to allow for absentee voting without needing an excuse.

More than 500,000 ballots have already been cast, with the state seeing an 80% increase in applications for absentee ballots this year, compared to 2016, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Officials said the new law, not the novel coronavirus, is more likely the reason behind the influx of ballots.

ABC News’ Kendall Karson reporting.

4:27 p.m. Sanders campaign cancels Cleveland rally tonight amid public health concerns

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, canceled a rally in Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday night amid the novel coronavirus spread in the U.S. “We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak,” according to a statement from campaign communications director Mike Casca. “Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight.” Casca said all future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

There have been at least 808 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to a case count by Johns Hopkins University. At least 28 people have died in the U.S., per ABC News’ count.

ABC News’ Adam Kelsey reporting.

4:06 p.m. Election officials prepare for primaries amid coronavirus spread

As voters in six states head to the polls for Tuesday’s primaries and the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S, election officials are closely monitoring the situation as the federal government shifts from a containment strategy into a mitigation phase.

The new coronavirus has complicated the 2020 election season with its unrelenting global impact, killing more than 4,000 people and infecting over 110,000 worldwide.

Some state officials are making adjustments to their primary administration efforts even before confirmed cases of the coronavirus reach their state.

In Idaho, where the state holds a presidential preference vote on Tuesday and a primary in May, state officials have sped up parts of contingency plans that were already in place to address election disruptions. The Idaho secretary of state’s office accelerated orders for additional laptops in order to provide increased flexibility for employees to operate remotely or in emergency conditions.

ABC News’ Luke Barr and Kelly Cannon reporting
11:03 a.m. Biden spars with auto worker in Michigan over gun rights

Former Vice President Joe Biden got into a heated exchange with an auto worker while visiting the Fiat-Chrysler Automobile (FCA) assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, ahead of the primaries.

Though Biden was greeted warmly by most of the workers, he fired back at one man who claimed he wanted to “take our guns.”

“You are actively trying to take away our second amendment,” the worker said.

“You’re full of s—,” Biden replied.

He went on to say that he supports the second amendment, but does not believe anyone needs 100 rounds. Biden eventually told the man not to be such “a horse’s a–.”

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