The Latest: Biden wins Democratic primary in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

Joe Biden has won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary.

Michigan was the largest of the six states voting Tuesday, with 125 pledged delegates at stake.

Biden emphasized the Obama administration’s bailout of the auto industry, which saved thousands of jobs. He also counted on continued strong support among African American voters.

Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in Michigan’s 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Losing the state this year may greatly diminish his chances at the nomination.

Many voters are already looking ahead to November and whether President Donald Trump can again win in the state that, perhaps more than any other, catapulted him into the White House in 2016.

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7:05 p.m.

As soon as polls closed in Mississippi and Missouri at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, The Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner in both states’ Democratic presidential primary.

The AP called Biden the winner over Bernie Sanders even though state officials had yet to release any results from Tuesday’s election. The news agency did so based on results from AP VoteCast, its wide-ranging survey of the American electorate. That election research captures the views of voters on whom they vote for, and why.

The VoteCast survey showed Biden with a wide lead in both states. Importantly, Biden was leading in all parts of both states. He led among both men and women, as well as among both white voters and African American voters.

Black voters have powered Biden to wins in several states to date in the Democratic primaries, including his touchstone victory in South Carolina late last month.

In both Mississippi and Missouri on Tuesday, Biden dominated among African Americans — winning the support of close to three-quarters of African Americans in both states.

Democratic primary voters in Missouri and Mississippi were more likely to think Biden rather than Sanders could defeat Donald Trump in November.

AP VoteCast is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News.

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7 p.m.

Joe Biden has won the Democratic presidential primaries in Missouri and Mississippi.

Missouri has 68 delegates at stake. Mississippi has 36 pledged delegates at stake.

Missouri is among the more conservative of the six states holding Democratic primaries Tuesday. All but one of the statewide elected officials are Republicans. The Democratic presidential candidate faces an uphill battle to carry Missouri in November against President Donald Trump, who won the state by 19 percentage points in 2016.

Joe Biden campaigned in Mississippi on Sunday, working to shore up support among African Americans, who make up 38% of Mississippi’s population and an even larger share of the Democratic electorate. Bernie Sanders canceled a plan to appear Friday in Jackson so he could campaign in Michigan, which is also holding a primary Tuesday.

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7 p.m.

Polls are beginning to close as six states hold primaries or caucuses to help determine the Democratic presidential nominee who will go up against President Donald Trump in November.

Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state are voting Tuesday. Polls closed in Mississippi and Missouri at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the delegate count after last week’s Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa voted. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is the only other Democratic candidate remaining in the race.

It’s a critical point in the Democratic race. Biden is looking to cement his front-runner status, while Sanders is in an urgent fight to turn things around. The primary calendar is quickly shifting to states that could favor Biden and narrow his path to the nomination.

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6:20 p.m.

Democratic front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will debate as scheduled Sunday in Arizona amid the coronavirus outbreak — but without a live audience.

The Democratic National Committee says it is making the move “at the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution.”

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa says local public health officials had advised that the debate could continue as planned.

Both Biden and Sanders cancelled their election night events Tuesday in Ohio amid concerns about the epidemic.

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4:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is canceling a scheduled rally in Cleveland amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus.

Mike Casca, a spokesman for the 78-year-old Vermont senator, says the campaign is canceling the event “Out of concern for public health and safety.” Sanders had been set to speak there as results from Democratic primary voting taking place in six states rolled in Tuesday night.

“We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak,” Casca said. “Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the event tonight.”

Joe Biden is scheduled to hold his own rally in Cleveland later Tuesday. A spokesman for the 77-year-old former vice president indicated there was no cancellation coming, saying, “We’re headed to Cleveland.”

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2:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is picking up the endorsement of a U.S. House member who backed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and praises the Vermont senator for leadership on issues affecting veterans and working families.

Rep. Mark Takano of California says in a video out Tuesday from the Sanders campaign that he’s supporting him in part because of Sanders’ “ability to get things done.”

Takano, who currently chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, cites Sanders’ previous leadership on the Senate counterpart body. His backing is the first for Sanders from a member of Congress in several weeks, while former Vice President Joe Biden has rolled out nearly 50 congressional endorsements this month alone.

Takano represents California, a delegate-rich prize that Sanders carried in last week’s Super Tuesday primaries. On Tuesday, six more states hold Democratic presidential primaries.

In the video, Takano — the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress — lauds Sanders’ early support for marriage equality, as well as his focus on issues including climate change and entitlement protections.

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11:35 a.m.

Joe Biden has faced down a pro-gun worker in a testy exchange over his plan to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

Biden spoke at an auto plant in Detroit on Tuesday and then was confronted by a worker in a hard hat who accused him of “actively trying to end our Second Amendment right.” Biden used an expletive to tell the worker he was “full of” it and hushed an aide who was trying to end the conversation.

Biden went on to say he supports the Second Amendment but added: “Do you need 100 rounds?”

The worker pointed to a “viral video” in which he alleged Biden said he would take away people’s guns. Biden replied that he “did not say that” and that the video was “lying.”

Biden otherwise received an overwhelmingly positive response from construction workers while courting the union vote in a final push as Michigan residents vote in the presidential primary.

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This item has been corrected to show that Biden got a response from construction workers, not autoworkers.

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10:55 a.m.

Joe Biden has received his third endorsement from a major national gun control group in as many days, this time from the Newtown Action Alliance.

The group was founded after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26 people, including 20 children. Biden also received the support of Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign in recent days.

Newtown Action Alliance chairwoman Po Murray said Tuesday in a statement Biden’s “support for gun violence prevention has never wavered.” The group notes the former vice president was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead a gun control task force after the 2012 Newtown massacre.

The endorsement is another indication Bernie Sanders’ spotty record on gun control could weigh him down in the Democratic presidential primary. Michigan and five other states are voting Tuesday at a critical point in the race.

Sanders has a D-minus rating from the National Rifle Association. But the Vermont senator has been criticized by opponents and gun control advocates for past opposition to background check legislation and support for shielding gun manufacturers from lawsuits over misuse of their guns.

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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