Bloomberg spent the most on ads ahead of Super Tuesday
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $560 million on advertising, more than twice as much as any other candidate this election cycle, based on the latest figures released today by Kantar Media/CMAG. Almost half of that was in Super Tuesday states.
Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer spent more than $210 million.
Here's the full breakdown:
5:58 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Susan Collins won't say whether she voted for Trump
"I already answered that question," Collins told CNN when asked if she supported Trump's reelection bid.
Collins' spokesperson referred CNN to comments the senator made last Friday when she was asked if she is supporting Trump. But in that interview, she didn't directly answer when asked if she backed the President's 2020 bid.
"I have voted by absentee ballot, just to make sure that I voted," Collins told WCSH in Portland, Maine. "And I would note that it's on the Democratic side that there are eight candidates, and my likely opponent as well as the governor and many other Democratic officials have not said who they are going to choose in what is a contested Democratic ballot. I'm focused on my job and also on my own campaign, and I'm just not going to get involved in presidential politics."
Voting in Nashville extended due to devastating storms
From CNN's Dianne Gallagher
A county judge has ruled that voting in Davidson County, which includes Nashville, will stay open beyond the 8 p.m. ET closing.
The judge has approved five "mega sites" extending voting until 11 p.m. ET, while other voting locations in the precinct will remain open until 9 p.m. ET.
The ruling came swiftly after a lawsuit was filed by the Democratic party and the four top campaigns (Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) to extend voting after storm damage delayed opening of polls.
The party was just informed of the decision, according to communications director Emily Cupples.
Here's a look at the judge's order:
5:42 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Biden looks for an advantage in Virginia and North Carolina
From CNN's Grace Sparks, Ryan Struyk, Jennifer Agiesta
In two states where former Vice President Joe Biden hoped for a strong performance, Virginia and North Carolina, a quarter of the electorate is black, according to early Democratic primary exit polls, roughly the same as it was in the 2016 primary cycle.
Two thirds of voters in both states are white, less than 1 in 10 are Latino.
Around 2 in 10 voters identified as very liberal, while a third identified as somewhat liberal in both Virginia and North Carolina.
More voters in Virginia say they’re moderate, around 2 in 5, while 3 in 10 say so in North Carolina. Around 1 in 10 Democratic voters in both states identify as conservatives.
6:01 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Health care is the top issue for Democratic voters
From CNN's Grace Sparks, Ryan Struyk, Jennifer Agiesta
Health care was the most important issue to Democratic primary voters in Maine and Massachusetts, according to early exit polling from CNN.
Almost half of voters in Maine and 2 in 5 in Massachusetts said health care was the most important in deciding who to vote for, followed by around a quarter in both states for climate change and around 1 in 5 for income inequality.
Fewer than 1 in 10 voters chose race relations in both states.Health care has dominated the Democratic field, with Sen. Bernie Sanders championing "Medicare-for-All," which would replace private insurance with a government plan, with moderates including former Vice President Joe Biden favoring the expansion of a public option within the existing private insurance system.Almost three quarters of voters in Maine and around half in Massachusetts support replacing private insurance with a single government plan.
5:27 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Sanders won't encourage Warren to drop out
From CNN's Ryan Nobles
While former Vice President Joe Biden has benefited from a series of endorsements from former presidential candidates as a sign the moderate lane is coalescing, Bernie Sanders' campaign signaled today not to expect a similar consolidation of the progressive lane —at least not any time soon.
The Sanders campaign is not making any effort to convince Elizabeth Warren to end her presidential bid, even though she and Sanders both come from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and her exit and possibly even endorsement of Sanders could help Sanders’ hopes of winning the nomination.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told CNN there have been no attempts by the Sanders campaign to reach out to Warren or her aides in an attempt to forge a partnership or convince her to get behind their campaign.
“She has been campaigning very hard, has raised a lot of money and has earned a lot of votes,” Shakir said. “She should be given the time and space to decide for herself about the future of her campaign.”
5:35 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Bloomberg team insists it won't be over tonight: "The math gets even better for us"
From CNN's MJ Lee
For now, Michael Bloomberg himself and his advisers are not publicly entertaining the idea of this being their last election night.
It’s why he’s spending all day in Florida, where the election isn’t until March 17. We also heard this morning these blunt words from Bloomberg himself: “I have no intention of dropping out. We’re in it to win it,” he said in Miami.
He even went as far as to ask reporters:
“Have you asked Joe whether he’s going to drop out? When you ask him that, then you can call me.”
His advisers have been careful to stay on this message heading into Super Tuesday, too, by emphasizing what they insist is their long view of the race.
One adviser likened their rapid, last-minute building of a presidential campaign to “flying the plane as you’re building it,” and that there have obviously been challenges to that model.
This person told CNN that, as they get further into the month of March, “The math gets even better for us.” By then, they said, they will have had months of “being at full capacity” like their rivals and that their built-in disadvantage of having made a late-entry will further erode.
And if Super Tuesday is hugely important because roughly a third of the delegates get handed out tonight, the Bloomberg camp is also emphasizing that this also means two-thirds of the delegates are still up for grabs.
“Mike’s campaign was built for the long haul,” the adviser said. “This is a race for the delegates.”
5:31 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Early exit polls are in. Here's what they show.
A substantial share of voters said they made up their minds about whom to support in the last few days, according to preliminary results from CNN exit polls.
Here's what they show:
Virginia: Nearly half of Democratic primary voters said that they made up their minds about whom to support in the last few days before voting.
North Carolina: Nearly 3 in 10 still said they made up their minds in the last few days. About 4 in 10 in each state said they made up their minds before voting began in early February.
In both states, white voters were more likely to say they made up their minds in the last few days than were black voters, including a majority of white voters in Virginia. Most black voters in both states said they had decided on their choice before February.
Majorities in both states said they would prefer a nominee who can beat President Donald Trump over one with whom they agree on the issues. That's a notable difference between these two southern states and South Carolina.
Breaking down the CNN exit polls:
5:20 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
Super Tuesday moment of truth for Bloomberg: "The race feels open to us"
From CNN's MJ Lee
Super Tuesday marks a huge moment of truth for Michael Bloomberg’s unconventional, unprecedented presidential campaign — finally, and for the first time, Bloomberg will be on the ballot.
Remember: It has been exactly 100 days since Bloomberg launched his 2020 campaign.
The former New York City mayor decided to get into the 2020 race late, skip the four early nominating states all together, and pour hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money at a dizzying pace into this campaign. As Bloomberg has risen in the polls, the question that’s loomed over this race is whether a candidate really can have a real shot at the White House nomination even by ignoring so many traditions and norms of presidential campaigning.
The results of today’s races will begin to offer the first real answers to that question, in the form of voters casting their ballots.
What is the Bloomberg team’s overarching outlook on the state of the 2020 race right now? His team insists that after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the one thing that is undeniable — and what they believe supports the theory of the case for the Bloomberg candidacy — is that there is no clear frontrunner yet.
“The race is really unsettled,” one senior aide told CNN. “Through the first four states we’ve had a different result in each of those four first contests. So we definitely feel like there is no clear frontrunner who is capable of both winning and taking on Trump. The race feels open to us.”
Of course, that is their positive spin today, and what’s left unsaid here is one obvious reality: After tonight, a clearer frontrunner could very well emerge, particularly with Bernie Sanders poised to grab significant chunks of delegates in large states like California. It also ignores the phenomenal political momentum Joe Biden has gained since his decisive win in South Carolina, including the endorsements from Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke, and what could very well be intensifying pressure on Bloomberg to leave the race.
Why Super Tuesday is a moment of truth for Bloomberg campaign: