Biden and Trump win Rhode Island and Connecticut primaries. New York and Wisconsin also voting

  • Canadian Press

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Voters in four states weighed in Tuesday on their parties’ presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have locked up the Democratic and Republican nominations.

Biden and Trump easily won primaries in Rhode Island and Connecticut, with results in New York and Wisconsin still to come. Their victories add to their delegate hauls for their party conventions this summer.

The outcomes, while hardly surprising, will nevertheless offer clues about enthusiasm among base voters for the upcoming 2020 rematch that has left a majority of Americans underwhelmed.

In particular, the tallies in Wisconsin, a pivotal November battleground, will give hints about the share of Republicans who still aren’t on board with Trump and how many Democrats are disillusioned with Biden. Trump campaigned Tuesday in Wisconsin and Michigan, two Midwest battlegrounds.

All four states voting Tuesday have multiple candidates on the ballot, and three of them also have an option to vote for “uncommitted” or “uninstructed delegate.” Biden has faced opposition from activists encouraging Democrats to vote against Biden to send a message of disapproval for his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Donald Trump is the first person I can remember who actually tried to keep all of the promises that he made during the campaign,” said Scott Lindemann, a 62−year−old contractor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who voted for the former president in the GOP primary. “I was very impressed with that.”

Theresa Laabs, a 55−year−old cashier in Kenosha, said her family is feeling the squeeze from higher food and gasoline prices, but she voted for Biden in the Democratic primary because she feels like he’s working to alleviate inflation.

“I understand it’s the economy now, and I’m hoping that Joe will keep working even harder in the next four years to try and bring these things down and make it easier for the working family,” Laabs said.

Wisconsin voters will also decide the fate of two Republican−backed statewide ballot measures that will shape how elections in the state are run and funded. Mississippi voters will decide a runoff between two Republicans vying to take on longtime Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who is favored to hold on to the strongly Democratic seat in November.

In New York, 70−year−old Steve Wheatley, a registered Republican, said he wishes there were more candidates to choose from. He said he voted for Nikki Haley even though “she has no shot” because of the lack of options.

“We need younger candidates with fresh ideas to run for president,” said Wheatley, a resident of Athens, a small town in the Hudson Valley. “I prefer a Democrat but our choices are thin. Look at what Biden has done so far with the economy.”

Trump and Biden turned their attention to the general election weeks ago after Haley dropped out of the GOP contest. Biden visited all the top battlegrounds last month after his State of the Union speech.

Biden and the Democratic National Committee have outpaced Trump and the Republicans in fundraising. Biden claimed the largest single−event fundraising record last week when he took in $26 million at a star−studded New York event last week with big names from the entertainment world teamed up with the president and his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Trump is looking to one−up his rival with a fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend that he hopes will bring in $33 million.

With the presidential candidates locking up their parties’ nominations, turnout was slow in Rhode Island, where only 4% of eligible voters had cast ballots by 5 p.m., a figure that included Tuesday’s in−person votes as well as mail−in and early votes.

It was slow across the border in Connecticut as well, where early voting was held for the first time in state history. Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas said turnout was only 1% to 2% in some communities by 11 a.m., while it was 4% in Stamford, one of the state’s larger cities. “What we have been hearing on the ground from people over the last few weeks is that this isn’t a competitive primary,” she said about the low numbers.


Cooper reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, and Maysoon Khan in Athens, New York contributed.

Jonathan J. Cooper And Teresa Crawford, The Associated Press

Photo: AP