Editor's Note: Despite early voting returns pointing to a Bernie Sanders victory, Joe Biden ultimately won the Texas Democratic primary. Stay tuned for an update.
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Even though Joe Biden looks to be the surprise Democratic presidential winner
on Super Tuesday, early results showed Texas voters will likely hand rival Sen. Bernie Sanders the majority of the state's 228 delegates.
With roughly a fifth of the vote counted, Sanders was winning the Lone Star State with 28.2% of the vote, compared to the former vice president's 24.6%. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg captured 19.2% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren 11.4%.
"There are still a lot of returns to come in, but I'm surprised that he's ahead after the early vote returns. That bodes really well," said Crystal Zermeño, director of electoral strategy for progressive group Texas Organizing Project, which endorsed Sanders.
In the widely watched primary to determine which Democrat runs against three-term GOP incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, Air Force veteran MJ Hegar had 25.7% of the early vote. That put her ahead of organizer Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, who had 13.1%.
Another TOP-backed candidate, Jessica Cisneros — a 26-year-old immigration lawyer — closely trailed longtime moderate Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar in early voting. Cisneros, who's drawn the support of national progressive groups, had 45.3% of the early vote compared to Cuellar's 54.7%. That district, a longtime Democratic stronghold, stretches from San Antonio to the border.
Zermeño said the success of progressives in the primaries to some degree comes down to Latinx and black voters feeling the need to counter the policies of President Donald Trump. However, she added, it helped to have progressive candidates willing to address issues important to those voters.
"It was finally fun to have a lot of candidates to talk to voters about," Zermeño said. "The fact that you could have a conversation about issues that presidential candidates are talking about that are relevant to our communities was really important."
For a broader look a Texas' primary electoral contests, the Texas Tribune offers live updates of election results
customizable by address.
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