Former Vice President Joe Biden maintained a lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a count of ballots Friday in Washington’s presidential primary.

As of Friday evening, Biden led with nearly 38% of the statewide vote, compared to about 36% for Sanders.

Biden and Sanders ended election night in a virtual tie, but Biden has led in subsequent tallies, and is headed for a victory here barring a major reversal in the final rounds of vote counts next week.

More than 2 million votes had been counted in the March 10 primary by Friday — or about 46% of the state’s registered voters. That set a record for a presidential primary here, beating out the 2000 primary which drew about 43%. (The state’s primaries in previous years have been mostly nonbinding; 2020 is the first year that both parties agreed to abide by the results.)

Of the votes counted so far, more than 1.4 million were cast in the Democratic primary, which had 13 candidates on the ballot, compared with about 650,000 in the Republican primary, which included only President Donald Trump.

A month ago, Sanders had been the leading candidate in a crowded field of Democrats competing for the chance to face Trump this fall. The balance of the race shifted after Biden’s dominant win in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.

Biden followed that with a series of wins on Super Tuesday, March 3, including victories in states that Sanders had carried in 2016, such as Michigan and Minnesota. A win in Washington, where Sanders won caucuses in 2016, would further solidify Biden’s front-runner status for the Democratic nomination.

 

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