Democrats Circled the Wagons, Propelling Biden to Big Virginia Victory

by Kerry Dougherty

Wow. What a difference 12 years makes.

During the 2008 Democratic primary in Virginia, when Sen. Barack Obama swept the commonwealth with 63.7% of the vote, Joe Biden, 65, straggled in with 0.1 percent. The senator from Delaware finished in 6th place that year, behind Hillary Clinton, John Edwards (remember him?), Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson.

Out of 986,203 votes cast in that historic primary, Biden got just 795.

It was a vastly different scenario last night when Biden roared to victory with about 53 percent of the vote, and a vote total of roughly 704,623.

Biden was the big Super Tuesday story, nationwide. The gaffe-prone 77-year-old exploded in primary after primary — including in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren finished an embarrassing third and Biden edged out Bernie to come in first.

It’s somehow reassuring to know that Elizabeth Warren annoys Massachusetts voters as much as she annoys the rest of us.

Biden’s campaign was prematurely pronounced dead weeks ago. It was resuscitated over the weekend when the panicked Democratic establishment circled the wagons and convinced Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to drop out and endorse Biden to halt Bernie Sander’s momentum.

The last-minute effort to block the Castro-loving socialist from gaining an insurmountable Super Tuesday lead worked.

Virginia doesn’t have early voting. That meant Biden’s post-South Carolina surge was powerful in the Old Dominion.

Still think early balloting is a good idea, Democrats?

It isn’t. it’s dumb. Election-eve surprises can render an early vote useless. Just ask all of the early birds in other states wishing they could retrieve ballots they’d wasted on Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

Vote on Election Day unless you absolutely can’t.

Even more surprising than Biden’s win, however, was Michael Bloomberg’s thrashing, despite about $500 million spent nationwide and millions dumped in the Old Dominion.

Bloomberg leaves the commonwealth empty-handed after spending $5.8 million on advertising and operating seven field offices with 80 staffers. (According to news reports, no other candidate had more than two offices.)

This was nothing less than a spanking for the billionaire.

Last week, The Washington Post questioned whether Bloomberg’s spending spree would pay off in a story headlined, “Bloomberg Spent big in Virginia for Years, Will It Bring Him Votes Tuesday?’

The answer was a resounding NO.

Over the past decade, he (Bloomberg) has poured more than $10 million into Virginia’s political wars, helping Democrats win a majority last year in both chambers of the state’s General Assembly for the first time in a generation.

“It wouldn’t have happened without his help,” said former governor Terry McAuliffe (D), who received $1.7 million from Bloomberg’s political action committee when he ran for governor in 2013.

Yet it is an open question whether Bloomberg’s investment in Virginia — unparalleled among his Democratic opponents — will translate into votes.

After his rivals’ blistering attacks in two recent debates, Bloomberg’s standing in Virginia appeared to erode… McAuliffe on Saturday endorsed Biden, a day after Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) also bestowed that establishment blessing.

As results from around the country poured in on Super Tuesday it began to look like Michael Bloomberg’s lone victory would be not in Virginia, as he hoped, but in American Samoa where he took 49 percent of the vote, edging out Tulsi Gabbard.

That prompted one observer to Tweet: “In other news, Michael Bloomberg announces his intention to purchase American Samoa, rename it Bloombergia, and proclaim himself god-king.”

Don’t laugh. He just might do it

This column was published originally at

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7 responses to “Democrats Circled the Wagons, Propelling Biden to Big Virginia Victory”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    lemme see… do I want a Gaff-prone POTUS or one that Tweets paranoia, insults, personal attacks and other nonsense 24/7? Pick your poison!

    Bonus Question: Would “principled” GOP sell their mortal souls by becoming minions to Trump? Yup. Been there, seen that.

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I do agree with Kerry about early voting. I have always thought it was a bad idea. There is something about the idea of the whole country coming together on one day to elect its leaders. The best description of that feeling is in Theodore White’s first “The Making of the President”.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’d like to see everyone who has a vote – have the ability to vote I do not work the polls anymore but when I did – you could tell when the blue-collar folks were showing up – early and late with lines forming.

    Our election infrastructure and process are obsolete and out of touch with the 21st century.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      It would be really interesting to have a study on what groups tend to vote early. With a brief internet search, I couldn’t find any really thorough study. There were some that indicted that older and more educated folks were the ones most likely to vote early. There was even one study that indicated that early voting, by itself, is associated with lower turnout. See:

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        well… if early voting requires a visit to the registras office… gonna be those who can take that time off from work … but don’t folks that are away have an opportunity to vote absentee?

        Seems like I did that once online and I got a ballot in the mail to fill out and return or I dreamed it but certainly folks stationed overseas have to have some ability to do that I would think.

        1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
          Dick Hall-Sizemore

          Of course, there should be absentee ballots for special circumstances. For example, I cast my first presidential vote on an absentee basis. I was in basic training in South Carolina (the company commander was visibly annoyed at the trouble he had to go through for two of us to vote absentee). Also, folks in nursing homes or other shut-ins should be able to vote absentee, as well as those on military duty and those that know they will be out of town on business on Election Day.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Right, but what is the good reason to deny that ability to anyone and especially those that work all day Tuesday at jobs they cannot easily leave from?

            Why not make absentee ballots available to all and let them decide whether to vote absentee or in person?

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