Sterling Heights GOP mayor Michael Taylor backs Biden

Ryan Teague Beckwith

The Republican mayor of Michigan’s fourth-largest city announced Tuesday that he voted for Joe Biden in the Democratic primary.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said it was the first time he’s voted for a Democrat. He told the Chicago Tribune he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 even though he had been skeptical of him at first.

“I slowly talked myself into it,” he said. “He can’t seriously be this deranged once he gets in there,’ and he’s even more deranged now than I thought then. So, I take the blame. I voted for him.”

Taylor said he felt Biden was a candidate who could unify Democrats while attracting Republicans like himself.

Sterling Heights is in Macomb County, one of the crucial parts of Michigan that voted for Barack Obama twice before flipping to Trump.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said he voted for Joe Biden in Michigan's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, and it was the first time he’s voted for a Democrat.

Kansas City mayor turned away from voting (4:42 p.m.)

The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, tried to film a video about the importance of voting to post on social media but instead of voting, he was turned away by a poll worker.

Quinton Lucas, who was elected in 2019, said that he was refused access this morning when he tried to vote in Missouri’s Democratic primary.

“I made a video this morning about the importance of voting and then got turned away because I wasn’t in the system even though I’ve voted there for 11 years, including for myself four times,” he tweeted. “Go figure, but that’s okay. We’ll be back later today!”

An hour later, Lucas went back online to clarify that he was actually much more upset than he initially sounded.

“By the way, me writing but that’s okay,’ was me being Midwestern and passive aggressive. It’s really not okay. Talked to the election director this AM and will be following up further. If the mayor can get turned away, think about everyone else,” he tweeted. “We gotta do better.” – Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Sanders, Biden cancel Ohio event amid virus fears (4:25 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden canceled planned rallies in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday amid concerns about coronavirus spreading at public events and suggested the campaign might suspend large gatherings.

“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,” Mike Casca, Sanders’s spokesman said in a statement. “All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

Sanders’s announcement was the first indication that the 2020 presidential campaign will be forced to change the way the candidates engage with the public.

When asked about how coronavirus would affect his campaign, Sanders told reporters earlier Tuesday that he was heeding the advice of public health officials.

Sanders visited two polling locations in Michigan before he was expected to head to Ohio for the rally. Six states held voting contests on Tuesday. – Tyler Pager

Michigan results may be delayed (4:08 p.m.)

Michigan will be Tuesday night’s biggest prize in the fight between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, but don’t expect results to come in fast.

Election clerks around the state are dealing with a backlog of absentee ballots, which couldn’t be opened and counted until the morning of the primary.

Michigan amended its state constitution in 2018 to allow absentee voting for citizens without needing a reason and expanded registration through Election Day. Of the roughly 1 million absentee ballots sent out for the 2020 primary, about 800,000 had already been returned by Monday evening.

“These changes increase the workload for clerks on what is already a very busy day and will likely mean Tuesday’s results will be available later than they have been historically,“ Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement.

Absentee voting in Michigan also allows do-overs. People who voted for candidates who already dropped out of the race can re-cast their vote, by “spoiling” their ballot and asking for a new one. As of Tuesday morning, there were 36,574 spoiled ballots.

Coming Up

Guam will hold a convention on March 14, Northern Mariana will hold a caucus on March 14-15.

Democratic candidates debate again on March 15 in Phoenix.

Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio will hold primaries on March 17.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, also sought the Democratic presidential nomination. He endorsed Joe Biden on March 4.)

–With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou.