Colorado Super Tuesday 2020, As It Happened

March 2, 2020
A late-day voter cradles his skateboard as he drops off his ballot at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. A late-day voter cradles his skateboard as he drops off his ballot at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A late-day voter cradles his skateboard as he drops off his ballot at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

9:23 p.m. — So long, and goodnight 👋

Polls have closed nationwide as California closes out Super Tuesday. While ballots will be counted all night long, this live blog will not be a-postin' all night. It's been a pleasure election-ing with you.

Our election results will continue updating as long as the Secretary of State's office keeps processing ballots.

Here's everything you need to know as you're going to bed. (Or, if you're checking back in tomorrow morning, everything you need to know as you're waking up. Hello, future people!)

*Cue your choice of music that would play behind the "Look how far we've come" recap at the end of the movie*

Alex Scoville


8:18 p.m. — At the Biden and Colorado Dems watch parties, a more muted tone

They weren't surprised, but they were a little disappointed.

Attendees at the Joe Biden watch party in Denver knew that Sen. Bernie Sanders was a favorite and had won Colorado before in 2016. But they still held out hope for a Biden surge in the Centennial State.

State Rep. Bri Buentello was one Biden supporter in attendance, and focused on the former VP's success in other states.

At the Colorado Democratic Party gathering, the overall mood was more conciliatory ... and exhausted. Most of the attendees had bounced between four or even five candidates, some bouncing away and then back to Biden.

"I had flirted with most of the candidates," Polly Baca said with a laugh. "Because I had gone from Biden to Warren to Bloomberg and now back to Biden, because I really want to win this race, and Biden is an incredibly talented leader, as demonstrated by the votes tonight."

Sanders' victory seemingly attracted less attention than Bloomberg's surprising second-place finish. One Sanders voter wandered in on accident.

As CPR public affairs reporter Andy Kenney put it: "They're fixin' for unity."

— Bente Birkeland, Andy Kenney and Alex Scoville


7:45 p.m. — Bloomberg's multimillion-dollar gamble on Colorado ads paid off(-ish)

Ahead of the 2020 presidential primary in Colorado, one Democrat was outspending all the other candidates. By a lot.

That candidate was, of course, former NYC Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg. As of Feb. 26, he had poured $7.8 million into TV ads in Colorado. The next closest ad buyer was Bernie Sanders, at a fraction of that with $623,694. Bloomberg represented 87 percent of all Democratic ad spending in Colorado.

And on Super Tuesday, he seems to be climbing to a (distant) second place in the Centennial State with 23 percent of the vote as of 7:45 p.m. He leads in five counties: Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Fremont and Pitkin. See the full results here.

— Alex Scoville


7:39 p.m. — Colorado Republicans decisively vote for Trump

There was no question that Colorado Republicans chose incumbent President Donald Trump as their nominee. See those results here.

In a statement, Colorado GOP chairman Ken Buck celebrated Trump's win.

"President Trump has lifted our nation to new heights with a record-breaking economy, historically low unemployment, and an agenda that benefits all Americans," Colorado GOP Chairman Ken Buck said in a statement. "Tonight's results confirm what Coloradans already knew: We need another four years of President Trump."

Kyle Kohli, the Colorado spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, echoed Buck's statement.

"While socialist Colorado Democrats may be ready for Bernie Sanders' government takeover of our healthcare and the sky-high taxes to pay for it, hard working Coloradans want no part of his damaging policy proposals. Colorado Republicans, meanwhile, sent a message tonight that they are united behind President Trump and his record of success, including record low unemployment, low taxes, and fairer trade deals for our workers," Kohli said in a statement.

— Alex Scoville


7:24 p.m. — Bernie Sanders volunteers celebrate the candidate's projected win

The senator from Vermont pulled off another win in Colorado. Sanders won the 2016 caucuses with 59 percent of the vote, and claimed 41 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 25.

Kevin J. Beaty/CPR News
The Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters celebrates as the Vermont Senator is projected to win Colorado.
Kevin J. Beaty/CPR News
Volunteer RaeLeann Smith at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters celebrates as the Vermont Senator is projected to win Colorado.

— Kevin J. Beaty and Alex Scoville


7:12 p.m. — Results!

Results are coming in! Thundercats a-gooooooo!

— Alex Scoville


7:00 p.m. — Polls are closed! And both AP and NPR say Sanders is projected to win Colorado

That was fast.

— Alex Scoville


6:52 p.m. — Donuts and Texas at the Sanders HQ

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
It seems the Sanders campaign office is running partially on Voodoo Donuts.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Volunteers at the Sanders HQ are closely watching results from Texas, the state with the second most delegates to award.
Volunteer Jeremy Doniger calls prospective voters at Bernie Sanders' Colorado headquarters on Colfax Avenue in Denver. March 3, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Volunteers make calls to potential voters at Bernie Sanders' Colorado headquarters with just an hour until polls close. March 3, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kevin J. Beaty and Alex Scoville


6:26 p.m. — These last-minute voters in Denver waited to cast their vote, but not for the same reasons

Hayley Sanchez/CPR News
Denver voter Lex Meyer with her dog. She voted for Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

Lex Meyer wasn't afraid to say her late afternoon vote was due to procrastination. She's long knew who she was voting for: Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Meyer likes Sanders' health care plan and that he doesn't take money from billionaires, and believes he could beat President Donald Trump in the general if he wins the nomination.

Another Democratic voter, Gail Grey, waited until Election Day to vote so she could see who dropped out first. Grey voted for Biden today, and thinks he could win in November if he picks a good running mate. She's not sure if Sanders could beat Trump because of his socialist platform.

Chris Hilton of Denver said he had to vote in person because his ballot got lost in the mail. Hilton, who says health care and equality for all are top issues for him, voted for Elizabeth Warren.

If Warren doesn't win the Democratic nomination, he said he'd be willing to support Biden over Sanders. That's because he thinks both Warren and Biden are willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to get things done.

"Even though he (Sanders) says he doesn't like it, you sort of have to be nice to the other politicians and get them to come to your table," he said. "Unfortunately that game may suck but that's what you have to play."

Hayley Sanchez and Alex Scoville


6:04 p.m. — Lake County had to do some extra work after forgetting an important step in ballot counting

The Lake County clerk’s office had to reach out to more than 250 unaffiliated voters to determine what party primary they voted in after failing to comply with a state law requiring they record it.

Read the full story. >>

Esteban Hernandez and Alex Scoville


5:50 p.m. — At the Colorado Sanders HQ, it's not over 'til it's over (aka; 7 p.m.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders volunteers are still feverishly calling voters with about an hour left until polls close.

"All the volunteers here feel like it's worth it," state campaign director Pilar Chapa said.

Volunteers have been on campuses walking students to polls, Chapa said.

Kevin Beaty and Alex Scoville



5:40 p.m. — Coloradans have turned in nearly 1.5 million ballots

The Secretary of State's office has ballot returns as of 3 p.m. today.

Coloradans turned in 1,478,083 ballots. That divvies up to 783,141 Democratic and 588,201 Republican ballots, with 106,741 still in process.

Unaffiliated voters cast 468,663 ballots — 231,128 in the Democratic primary and 107,969 in the Republican contest. The rest are still being processed.

— Alex Scoville


5:29 p.m. — It's newsroom dinner time

Pizza and a salad bar. A balanced meal!

— Alex Scoville


5:20 p.m. — The scene in Pueblo, a city on the national radar for 2020

These two Democratic voters in Pueblo both backed former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, but for different reasons.

Joe Jaramillo said he went for Bloomberg because he was worried about Sen. Bernie Sanders taking the nomination. And Gary Tucker voted for Bloomberg because he was compelled by the candidate’s public option health insurance plan.

“We need a new face on the Democratic party," Tucker said.

On the Republican side, George Rivera said he was even more excited to vote for incumbent President Donald Trump than he was in 2016. He’s impressed by Trump’s border control and “America First” policies.

You may remember that Pueblo voters went for Trump in 2016 and then for Polis in 2018. It’s a swing county in a historic swing state. That's why it's one of the places everyone has eyes on to help predict 2020.

Claire Cleveland, Avery Lill and Alex Scoville


5:06 p.m. — Results are coming in on the East Coast, but you still have two hours to vote!

So find your nearest polling center here!

Or, if you've already voted, check out those East Coast numbers.

— Alex Scoville


4:52 p.m. — Primaries are bringing out more voters than caucuses did

As CPR public affairs reporter Andy Kenney pointed out, it's not even close.

In 2016, about 120,000 Democrats caucused. In the 2020 presidential primary, 683,331 ballots were cast as of Election Day morning.

We wrote more about Colorado's switch from caucus to open primaries — and what worked and what didn't — here.

— Alex Scoville


4:22 p.m. — A coronavirus news break

From the biggest story of the day to the second biggest.

Gov. Jared Polis announced earlier today that he had elevated Colorado's emergency preparedness to its second-highest level due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

“If the condition elevates to a level where we need to take more decisive action, we're prepared to do that,” Polis said while stressing “this is not a declared state of emergency.”

The governor also had a conference call with Colorado's Congressional delegation to make sure the state gets enough resources from the federal government to deal with the virus.

Also on the coronavirus beat, Colorado Matters talked to an expert in supply chain to get a better picture of how the virus may impact how stuff moves into and around the state.

Colorado health officials can now test for coronavirus themselves instead of waiting on the CDC for results. But remember, as of today, Colorado still has no known cases of COVID-19.

— Alex Scoville


3:50 p.m. — This is what a ballot processing center looks like

Colorado Primary Sorting Ballots Adams CountyHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election workers sort and manage ballots at the Adams County Government Center in Brighton on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Colorado Primary Sorting Ballots Adams CountyHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election workers sort and manage ballots at the Adams County Government Center in Brighton on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Colorado Primary Sorting Ballots Adams CountyHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election workers sort and manage ballots at the Adams County Government Center in Brighton on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Colorado Primary Sorting Ballots Adams CountyHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Election workers bring in ballots at the Adams County Government Center in Brighton on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Hart Van Denburg and Alex Scoville


3:25 p.m. — Is this the best Colorado "I voted" sticker?

— Alex Scoville


2:43 p.m. — Take a reading break with us

Journalists get stressed out by elections too. (Honestly more than pretty much anyone.) So we turned one of our offices into a reading nook, and different CPR folks will be doing storytime throughout the afternoon on Facebook Live. Editor Alison Borden just read the “The Pout-Pout Fish” by Deborah Diesen.

— Alex Scoville


2:14 p.m. — Here's what more Denver voters are saying

The La Familia Recreation Center in Denver's Baker neighborhood drew another steady stream of voters.

Diego Rosero cast his ballot for a Republican candidate— but not for Trump. Rosero says he wanted his vote to send a message.

“The Republican Party has chose to suppress any other contender, even though many moderates do not support or agree with the President," Rosero said.

Another voter, Juel Dodgen, voted for Elizabeth Warren. Dodgen says she’d like to see a woman president, and she was disappointed when Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.

“I think [Warren] is really an advocate for the people, unlike a lot of people in office right now,” Warren said.

Michael Elizabeth Sakas and Alex Scoville


2:02 p.m. — Here's some ballot-sorting ASMR

CPR photo editor Hart Van Denburg is watching Adams County sort ballots today. It moves very fast and sounds very nice.

— Alex Scoville


1:07 p.m. — JUST IN: This dog loves democracy

— Alex Scoville


1:05 p.m. — More young Coloradans are voting in 2020 primary vs 2018

A new report from Magellan Strategies found a significant increase in young people voting in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from the 2018 Democratic primary, which didn't feature a presidential race but did include a contested gubernatorial contest.

Voters ages 18-34 have made up 18 percent of the Democratic turnout so far, Magellan reports, compared to 14 percent in 2018. There are also more 18 to 34-year-olds among the unaffiliated voters who voted in the Democratic primary in 2020 compared to two years ago, 24 percent to 20.5 percent.

There are also more young people voting Republican, but the growth isn't as significant as it is for Democrats. About 9.5 percent of Republican voters in 2020 are 18 to 34-year-olds, compared to 7.5 percent in 2018.

That goes with a small increase in 18 to 34-year-olds among the unaffiliated voters who voted in the Republican primary, 14.4 percent compared to 12.3 percent.

Overall, turnout among 18 to 34-year-olds is up from 12.6 percent to 16.1 percent.

You can look through the report yourself here.

— Alex Scoville


12:39 p.m. — In Park Hill, more votes for Bernie

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Arman Long and Maggie Scooler speak to a reporter after they voted on Super Tuesday at the Hiawatha Davis recreation center in Northeast Park Hill, March 3, 2020.

Arman Long and Maggie Scooler both voted for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Reaction Center.

“I think he’s the only candidate who is a true progressive,” Long said.

Scooler said she supports Sanders because of his plans for health care and the environment.

Sanders also won the vote of Park Hill resident Angela Smith.

“He speaks my language,” Smith said.

She wants universal health care and affordable higher education. She's still paying off her own student loan debt.

“Other countries are doing it, why can’t we?”

Esteban Hernandez and Alex Scoville


11:57 a.m. — More than 1.3 million ballots have been cast

Officials with the Secretary of State's Office say 1,311,477 ballots have been cast in the Super Tuesday primary. At last count — yesterday — that number was about 1.2 million.

More Democratic ballots (683,331) have been returned than Republican ones (549,284). Another 78,862 are still in process.

About 31 percent of the returned ballots are from unaffiliated voters. The majority of those voters have cast ballots in the Democratic race, according to figures from the Secretary of State's Office.

Andrew Villegas


11:00 a.m. — Take a look at these neat votin' photos from Denverite's Kevin Beaty

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Elizabeth Ngirailab and Bria Daniel show off their stickers after voting at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center.
Kevin. J Beaty/Denverite
Helpful elections people at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Ed Moss rolls an empty ballot box at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center.

Kevin J. Beaty and Alex Scoville


10:47 a.m. — Buttigieg formally withdraws from the presidential primary in Colorado.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joined fellow Midwestern moderate Sen. Amy Klobuchar in filing the paperwork on Tuesday to make it official, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Now votes for Buttigieg won't be counted by county clerks, and he won't get any delegates awarded to him.

Buttigieg dropped out of the race on Sunday.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney are the other two candidates to have formally exit the Colorado presidential primary.

— Alex Scoville


10:12 a.m. — A European weighs in on the Western Slope.

Unsurprisingly, even people who can’t vote in today’s primary are following along and have (all the) takes.

Frank Cuypers is from Belgium. In Grand Junction on Tuesday morning, he said the length of the presidential election process in the United States is surprising to him.

“My first impression is that this must be exhausting because the elections are in November,” he said. “Can you keep that pace until November? But even as a foreigner, you can’t escape press these days. Media, it’s all over the place. And it’s heavily followed in Europe as well.”

He also said that compared to many European politicians, most American candidates seem pretty moderate. 

“What Bernie [Sanders] proposes, for instance, it’s actually the way a country like Norway or Denmark is functioning,” he said. “What seems radical to some Americans does not seem radical at all to Europeans.”

Stina Sieg and Andrew Villegas


10:02 a.m. — On Denver's Westside, it's a choice between the progressive candidates.

Esteban Hernandez/CPR News
Westwood residents Magdalena and Raymond Villalva, who have been married for 50 years, voted at Barnum Recreation Center in Denver on Super Tuesday 2020.

Barnum Recreation Center in Denver has seen a lot of voters on Super Tuesday — including some who had returned their ballots in early.

Barnum resident Pete Meina dropped off his ballot at the rec center a month earlier. He already knew who to vote for: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, his favorite Democrat.

Young voter Jamie Wakeen also voted for Sanders. She's a fan of his health care plan.

“I just think he has a lot of good things he wants to do," Wakeen said.

Another young voter, Francisco Bustillos, also backed Sanders. Bustillos, an 18-year-old student at Denver Center for International Studies, voted for the first time today.

“I have immigrant parents. I wouldn’t want Trump to be in office again. It’s important. I had to vote," he said.

Karlie Hubbarb, a recent transplant from Indianapolis, went for the other progressive in the 2020 race: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Hubbarb said she admired Warren's thoughtfulness.

“I just appreciate how long she’s been doing the right thing," she said.

Westwood residents Magdalena and Raymond Villalva, who have been married for 50 years, came to vote together on Super Tuesday. Magdalena says she backed Sanders, who she believes can end corruption and pass gun control laws.

“He cares about people, not just the elderly but children," she said.

Esteban Hernandez and Alex Scoville


9:53 a.m. — In Denver's Montbello neighborhood, a steady stream of ballot drop-offs

Poll worker Ada Johnson, armed with a reflective vest and a roll of "I voted!" stickers, said the Montbello Recreation Center in northeast Denver has been busy.

One voter, Paloma Palomo, returned her ballot with her daughter Miya. Paloma voted for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“She has a plan for things," she said.

Allison Herrera and Alex Scoville


9:45 a.m. — Grand Junction Republican voter on Trump: "He's done a lot of good, but he's still got a lot of faults."

Bob Czarnecki voted in the Republican primary. He wouldn't say who he voted for, but added that he used to be a Democrat and became Republican because he was concerned that Democrats were turning too "socialist."

He said President Trump may lack tact in how he communicates, but that he's done a lot of good for the United States.

"I think that's what the people are looking for," he said from a bagel shop in Grand Junction. "He's reduced taxes, he's bringing back our soldiers from wars that people are disgusted with, so you know, he's done a lot of good, but he's still got a lot of faults."

Stina Sieg and Andrew Villegas

Tuesday, 3/3 | 6:22 a.m. — Amy Klobuchar officially withdrew from Colorado ballots

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office says former Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar officially withdrew her candidacy from Colorado ballots. Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race yesterday. The Colorado move means votes for Klobuchar won't be counted by county clerks and that she won't get any delegates awarded to her.

She joins Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney as candidates to officially withdraw from the state primary election.

There's no word yet this morning on if former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has done the same thing, so for now, it looks like his votes will still be counted, and he'll be awarded delegates if he gets more than 15 percent of the vote.

Andrew Villegas


Monday, 3/2 | 7:26 p.m. — Some last-minute voting resources

Full confession: I just filled out my ballot tonight to drop off on my way to work in the morning.

If you're a procrastinator like me (hey, apparently not always a bad thing), no fear. We broke down where the candidates stand on climate change, immigration, housing and health care. And since it's Colorado's first primary in nearly 20 years, we answered all your questions about the presidential election, too.

Alex Scoville


Monday, 3/2 | 6:45 p.m. — Welcome! 👋

No, don't worry, no other Democratic candidate has left the race. But with all of the last-minute drop-outs, we just wanted to have a quick recap ready for all you.

ICYMI: After former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out Sunday, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also suspended her campaign on Monday. The ends of their presidential runs came as Colorado Democrats started to send in their ballots in droves.

There are no do-overs for voters who already cast ballots for the Midwestern moderates. But if Buttigieg or Klobuchar end up receiving enough votes to hit the delegate threshold, they could still earn delegates — read on for more on that delegate math.

The whole affair has lit a fire under the conversation around rank-choice voting, the pros and cons both.

For some voters, it's left them feeling frustrated, or like their vote doesn't matter. We want to hear about how you feel. Tell us on Twitter or on Facebook!

Alex Scoville