© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Vice President Joe Biden Wins Missouri Democratic Primary

Aviva Okeson-Haberman
KCUR 89.3
Former Vice President Joe Biden at a rally in Kansas City on Saturday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders 60% to 34% in the Missouri Democratic presidential primary.

Both campaigns made stops in Missouri ahead of Tuesday's vote. At a rally in St. Louis, Sanders pitched himself as a more progressive candidate who would push for expanding health care to every American and pass gun control measures. Biden made the case at a rally in Kansas City that he could unite the party and bring in Republican voters.

Biden went into Tuesday’s primary with a delegate lead and endorsements from several of his former rivals, as well as from Missouri Democrats and unions. In addition to 5th District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, who has been in the Biden camp all along, he enjoyed endorsements from former Missouri governor Bob Holden, former U.S. senator Jean Carnahan and several Missouri chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions.

At a watch party at the Well in Waldo on Tuesday evening, Jackson County Legislator Jalen Anderson said if Biden is the nominee, it would be easier for all the Democrats running down ballot.

"People know the vice president. They know what he's done. They know what he intends to do," Anderson said. "He's worked across the aisle. See, we have a lot of Independents here in Missouri. We need people who can reach out to Independents and Republicans who are tired of this administration, and are willing to change this country in the better direction."

Credit Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden gathered at the Well on Tuesday night.

A Biden gaffe at the Kansas City rally made minor political history after President Donald Trump’s campaign lopped off the end of a stumbly Biden sentence to make it appear as if he was perhaps endorsing Trump’s reelection and then posted the mocking video social media. Twitter eventually pulled the tweet, making it the first violation of the company’s new policy against manipulated content; Facebook left it up.

At a watch party at recordBar, Sanders volunteer Idris Raoufi told a crowd of roughly 50 people that after volunteers should start to shift their attention to Kansas, where primary voters head to the polls in early May.

“Watching this (Trump) administration dismantle what the Democrats and what civil rights activists and women’s rights activists and immigrant rights activists have accomplished over decades, watch them just dismantle it in a matter of months I don’t think the approach to right that wrong is with an incrementalist approach,” Raoufi said.

“I think a lot of people right now are afraid of Donald Trump and it’s really easy to motivate people by fear. And that is not the approach of the Bernie Sanders campaign. It’s not why I’m volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign.”

Credit Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Sanders volunteer Idris Raoufi told the senator's supporters to turn their attention to the Kansas primary.

The Missouri Democratic Party estimates that Biden will get 44 of the state’s 68 pledged delegates. The official number of delegates might not be known for a few weeks because the secretary of state isn’t breaking down the vote total by congressional district.

“We don't expect it to change significantly but there may be a delegate here or there reallocated,” Missouri Democratic Party executive director Lauren Gepford said in an email. “If the race was closer like it was in 2016 and 2008, then it'd be much more of a concern. Thankfully in 2016, the Secretary of State broke it down at the Congressional level."

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said his office isn't required by law to provide that data.

“We simply can’t provide that data,” Ashcroft said in a statement last week. “We could only provide it if the local election authorities collected it, which would’ve required printing special ballots. The request from the Missouri Democratic Party to provide that data was impossible from the beginning, as it came weeks after ballots had already been printed.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter: @avivaokeson.

Frank Morris is a national correspondent and senior editor at KCUR 89.3. You can reach him on Twitter @FrankNewsman.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
Aviva Okeson-Haberman was the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.