Sanders wins delegate-rich California, NBC News projects

NBC News projected Thursday that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., won last week's Democratic primary in California, the state with the most Super Tuesday delegates.

With 88 percent of the vote in, Sanders leads with 34.3 percent of the vote. Former Vice President Joe Biden is in second place, with 27.6 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg are in third and fourth place, with 13.3 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively. Warren and Bloomberg have dropped out of the race.

California has 415 delegates at stake. Currently, Sanders has picked up 202 of them to Biden's 148, according to NBC News.

Sanders poured considerable resources in California and was ahead in polling there leading into Super Tuesday. But despite winning the night's biggest prize, he did not end Super Tuesday with the most delegates after 14 states and one territory held nominating contests. More than 1,300 delegates — about a third of the total — were at play, more than on any other day in the primary season.

Biden racked up victories in the South, winning the primaries in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. He also won in Minnesota and Massachusetts, and he is the apparent winner in Maine, according to an NBC News projection — ending the night with the most delegates.

Overall, Biden is leading the two-man field with 848 delegates. Sanders has 695.

Although California did not put Sanders in the lead, NBC News exit polls showed that he won 54 percent of voters under age 45, 49 percent of Latinos, 41 percent of liberals and 44 percent of independent-leaning voters. He also led all candidates among men and women, as well as among white and nonwhite voters.