Super Tuesday: Shock American Samoa result spoils Joe Biden’s clean sweep

President Joe Biden has lost the American Samoa Democratic primary to a little-known candidate who had never visited the islands before the caucus.

The shock victory for Jason Palmer tarnishes a night where Mr Biden otherwise chalked up a string of Super Tuesday wins. Out of 91 ballots cast in the territory’s caucus, Mr Palmer won 51 and the president took 40, according to the local Democratic party office.

The outcome will hardly derail Mr Biden’s march toward his party’s nomination. He has won California, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Maine, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnestora , Massachusetts, Utam, Vermont and Iowa, cementing his position as the front runner in his bid for a second term.

Only six delegates were at stake in American Samoa, a tiny collection of islands in the South Pacific with fewer than 50,000 residents. Mr Palmer takes four delegates and Mr Biden two.

A Baltimore resident who has worked for various businesses and nonprofits, often on issues involving technology and education, Mr Palmer, 52, says he had never been to American Samoa until he began heavily campaigning there ahead of the Super Tuesday caucus.

“I have been campaigning remotely, doing Zoom town halls, talking to people, listening to them about their concerns and what matters to them,” he said.

On the day before the caucus, Mr Palmer posted on X that “Washington DC is long overdue for a president who will be an advocate for American Samoa”. His account includes pictures of young people holding homemade campaign signs.

According to campaign finance records, Mr Palmer has loaned his campaign more than $500,000 of his own money. “You can’t take the money with you when you die,” he said. “But you can change the world while you’re here.”

Residents of US territories vote in primaries but do not have representation in the Electoral College.

In 2020, Michael Bloomberg came out on top in the Super Tuesday contest in American Samoa, while then-candidate Mr Biden got single-digit support.

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