16 Democrats, 3 Republicans qualify for presidential primary


TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three Republican and 16 Democratic candidates have been certified to appear on the Super Tuesday presidential primary ballot in Tennessee, state election officials say.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett unveiled the list of qualified candidates on Tuesday ahead of the March presidential primary. The Democratic candidates includes former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California billionaire Tom Steyer also qualified.

The Republican list includes President Donald Trump, former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

The secretary of state’s office also received a petition from perennial candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente to be on the Republican primary ballot, but the Division of Election was still verifying whether his petition met all the state requirements as of Tuesday.

Tennessee has two ways to qualify for a presidential primary ballot: Either the secretary of state deems the candidate “nationally recognized” or candidates submit 2,500 registered voter signatures.

A spokeswoman for Tennessee’s secretary of state said Steyer also submitted petition signatures along with De La Fuente. And while Bloomberg’s team had requested a petition before he had officially filed to run for president, he was later deemed a national candidate.

Meanwhile, Republican Robert Breton Phillips was the only candidate to request a signature petition and not be certified for the presidential primary ballot.

Candidates have until Dec. 10 to withdraw from the presidential primary ballot.

Nearly a quarter of primary delegates are up for grabs in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, with 73 of those coming from Tennessee. Just seven other states will have more delegates than Tennessee on Super Tuesday.

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