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The Latest: Biden fundraiser draws bigger crowd after wins

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden points as reporters ask questions Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden points as reporters ask questions Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

A fundraiser for Joe Biden at the Los Angeles home of former Paramount Pictures executive Sherry Lansing mushroomed from 80 to 350 attendees in the days after the South Carolina primary.

Biden addressed the crowd Wednesday in Lansing’s backyard outside her mansion in Bel Air.

Lansing said she had to turn interested donors away after Biden’s strong showing in Tuesday night’s primary. “It was a deluge,” she said.

Attendees at the fundraiser included former California Gov. Gray Davis and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Keegan-Michael Key.

Biden called the increased voter turnout in South Carolina and other states “really satisfying.”

“Once again we’re putting together a basic Democratic coalition,” he said.

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5:55 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is pledging to unify Americans as he prepares for a potentially long nominating fight against rival Bernie Sanders.

"We’re going to bring together all Americans … of every stripe," Biden told reporters Wednesday at a West Hollywood hotel. "I really mean that. This is what we have to do to win. This is what we have to do to unify the nation."

Biden didn't mention Sanders by name, but the former vice president's remarks came hours after his top campaign officials took aim at Sanders for new ads criticizing Biden's record on Social Security and for suggesting Biden's supporters are following dictates from the Democratic establishment.

"The establishment are all those hard-working people" of every racial and ethnic demographic who voted on Super Tuesday, Biden said.

Sanders, a democratic socialist, led the first three nominating contests, worrying some Democratic leaders that he'd tank the party in November as the presidential nominee. Biden's victories in South Carolina on Saturday and across the board on Super Tuesday solidified his status as the more moderate alternative.

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3:35 p.m.

Mike Bloomberg says he may be ending his 2020 presidential bid, but he's not walking away “from the most important political fight of my life.”

The billionaire former New York City mayor addressed hundreds of staffers and supporters Wednesday afternoon, shortly after dropping his campaign for the White House. Bloomberg reiterated his decision to exit the race because it was “virtually impossible” for him to gather enough delegates to win after he came up short in Super Tuesday states despite pouring more than $500 million into his efforts.

He also repeated his endorsement of once-rival Joe Biden and continued the crowd to continue their work to defeat President Donald Trump. “I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life, and I hope you won’t walk away either," Bloomberg said.

In a rare show of emotion, Bloomberg seemed to become tearful when closing his speech with a rallying cry for his supporters to protect the “light of freedom, light of liberty, light of equality and light of opportunity.”

“No wall can block out that light,” he said, adding: “We will not allow any president to dim that light. Together we will get it done.”

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3:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says that the Democratic presidential primary race is “neck and neck” between him and Joe Biden but that he’s the only candidate not “backed by the corporate world.”

The comments came a day after a resurgent Biden scored 10 victories in 14 Super Tuesday states, with Sanders winning in the other four.

At a news conference in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, on Wednesday, Sanders accused the former vice president of being backed by scores of billionaires.

He then offered some of his strongest contrasts yet between the two, running through a long list of attacks on Biden’s policy record on Social Security, trade agreements and many other top issues.

“The American people have got to understand that this is a conflict about ideas, about a record, about a vision of how we go forward,” Sanders said. Despite that criticism, he added that he didn’t want to engage in personal attacks, saying, “I like Joe.”

Sanders' comments came shortly after Biden’s campaign chided Sanders for negative advertising focused on Biden’s past record.

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2:35 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says that he’s spoken to Elizabeth Warren by phone after her disappointing Super Tuesday showing and that she’s “not made any decisions” about leaving the Democratic presidential race.

Warren's campaign said the Massachusetts senator was talking to her team Wednesday to assess the path forward and would make up her mind on her own time. She didn't win any of the 14 states that voted Tuesday and finished third in her home state.

Sanders and Warren are the strongest progressive voices in the presidential race — and two of the four Democrats remaining in the race. But they haven't spoken frequently since January, when Warren accused Sanders of suggesting during a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win the White House -- an accusation the Vermont senator forcefully denied.

Sanders didn’t say whether Warren would endorse him should she opt to leave the race, nor if he sought her endorsement.

Sanders himself had an underwhelming Super Tuesday performance but ended up winning the night's biggest prize, California, along with three other states. Joe Biden won 10 states, including the second-most delegate-rich state, Texas.

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2:05 p.m.

Joe Biden has notched his 10th Super Tuesday victory by winning Maine's Democratic presidential primary.

The state, which was called Wednesday afternoon for Biden, has 24 delegates at stake.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said turnout was higher than he had anticipated.

It was the state's first presidential primary in 20 years. Maine last used primaries in 1996 and 2000 and then switched to the caucus system for the next four presidential election cycles. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders handily won Maine's Democratic caucuses in 2016.

Biden also won Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, while Sanders captured California, Colorado, Utah and Vermont.

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1:35 p.m.

Joe Biden's aides say the Democratic presidential candidate is thrilled to have former rival Mike Bloomberg's support.

Bloomberg ended his own bid Wednesday after a poor showing and endorsed Biden. The former New York mayor has committed to leaving up his massive campaign operation to help Democrats defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. It's not immediately clear if Bloomberg would use his resources and organization to help Biden in his nominating fight against Bernie Sanders.

Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield says Biden is thrilled that Bloomberg is backing him. But she says conversations about what Bloomberg's endorsement means practically are ongoing.

Federal campaign finance laws would bar direct coordination between the Biden campaign and Bloomberg on a range of spending possibilities should the former mayor essentially want to turn his campaign into a Biden-aligned super PAC.

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1:30 p.m.

Joe Biden's presidential campaign is embracing his renewed status as Democratic front-runner, chiding Bernie Sanders for negative advertising and casting the Vermont senator as dividing the party.

The Biden campaign's national co-chairman, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, blasted Sanders for his suggestions that the Democratic establishment is colluding against the progressive's White House bid. Richmond said Biden is earning his votes.

"I just did not know that African Americans in the South were considered part of the establishment," Richmond said, noting Biden's overwhelming black support that gave him wide delegate gains in Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, among other states.

Richmond and Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield alluded to the 2016 campaign, when a nominating fight between Sanders and Hillary Clinton left bitter feelings that hobbled Clinton's general election campaign.

"We’ve seen what kind of campaign Bernie Sanders runs," Bedingfield said, referring to new attack ads Sanders released Wednesday. “We all need to link arms to defeat Donald Trump.”

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”