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6 states vote Tuesday in crucial Democratic primaries

Michigan and Washington state are the biggest prizes in the race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

It is a critical day in the Democratic presidential primary as six states vote on whether they want former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders to face off with President Donald Trump.

A big night for Sanders could put him back in the front-runner seat. A big night for Biden might mark the beginning of the end of this race.

The two key states in Tuesday's voting will be Michigan and Washington state, which bring a combined 214 delegates toward the 1,991 needed to win the nomination. Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota are also voting, combining for 148 delegates. Democrats Abroad will also vote with 13 delegates at stake.

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As of early Tuesday morning, Biden led Sanders in allocated delegates 670-574 according to the Associated Press, thanks to his 10-state win on Super Tuesday. But, 89 delegates from Super Tuesday have yet to be allocated from four states, three of which Sanders won.

Michigan will be important not just for winning the nomination, but as a marker for who might be best positioned to beat Trump.

2016 nominee Hillary Clinton lost Michigan to Sanders in the primary, then went on to lose the state to Trump in the general election by 11,612 votes. The narrow win, along with close wins in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, propelled Trump to the electoral college win for the presidency despite losing the national popular vote by about 2.8 million.

Sanders won the Washington state caucuses in 2016 with nearly 73% of the vote. The caucuses were how the state Democratic party doled out its national delegates. But, the state also held a non-binding primary in which Clinton won, 53% to 47%. This year, the caucuses have been nixed and there is only the primary, which will determine delegates.

Of concern this year in Washington state is the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has been hit hard with more than 160 cases and at least 22 deaths. But the Evergreen State is a vote-by-mail state, so voters do not need to be concerned about crowded polling places.

Sanders won Idaho and North Dakota in the 2016 primaries, but lost to Clinton in Missouri by 1,531 votes and was defeated handily in Mississippi.