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Why AP called Michigan for Biden: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared President Joe Biden the winner of Michigan’s Democratic primary based on an analysis of initial vote returns as the incumbent continues to roll toward renomination.

The AP declared Biden the winner at 9:00 p.m. ET with results showing him with an overwhelming lead in 21 locations throughout the state. At the time the race was called, Biden led with about 78% of the statewide vote, with the “uncommitted” option on the ballot a distant second at 16%. These initial returns came from a wide swath of the state, including more populous areas in and around the cities of Detroit and Grand Rapids as well as rural counties to the north.

Activists in Michigan, including younger voters and Muslim and Arab American voters, had organized an effort to vote “uncommitted” in protest of Biden’s support for Israel throughout its war with Gaza. Supporters of this effort include Rep. Rashida Tlaib, whose district includes parts of Wayne and Oakland counties, and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud. More than half the residents of Dearborn, which is just south of Detroit in Wayne County, are of Middle Eastern or North African ancestry, according to Census figures.

Biden was running above 60% in every county with votes counted. This included Eaton and Washtenaw counties, which contain the suburbs of Lansing and the university city of Ann Arbor, respectively. In Oakland County, the state’s second most populous, Biden was leading “uncommitted” by 67 percentage points.

Biden won all of Michigan’s 83 counties four years ago, in a more competitive contest that took place later in the cycle.

Democrats will allocate 117 pledged delegates based off tonight’s results, the largest pool of delegates available thus far. To qualify for delegates, candidates must receive at least 15% of the vote statewide or in a congressional district. “Uncommitted” will receive delegates if it remains above that threshold.

More than 106,000 ballots had been reported in the Democratic primary when the AP called the race. The final polls closed at 9 p.m. Eastern, but in most of the state, they had closed an hour earlier. Tuesday’s primary elections also marked the first major statewide race since Michigan expanded early voting and allowed for early tabulation of absentee ballots last year. Approximately 1 million voters cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primary before Election Day.

Maya Sweedler, The Associated Press


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