Joe Biden briefly mixed up his wife and his sister as he celebrated a strong result in Super Tuesday – a key event in the US election.
The former Vice President was expected to win at least 99 conference delegates from the 14 states taking part in the poll to decide who will go up against Donald Trump in November's general election .
That's more than twice as many as Senator Bernie Sanders – who was expected to do better in last night's poll.
Aided by two candidates – Pete Buttigieg and Amy Kobuchar – pulling out of the race this week and endorsing him, Biden managed to slow Sanders' momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Biden was projected to be the winner in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Minnesota.
Sanders was projected to win in Colorado and his home state of Vermont, expected outcomes for the self-described democratic socialist and independent senator who hopes to take a huge step toward winning the nomination on Tuesday.
More than one-third of the delegates who will pick the eventual nominee at a July convention are up for grabs in primary elections on Tuesday that could provide some clarity at last in a muddled race for the White House.
Early results showed Sanders holding a narrow lead over Biden in Texas, while Biden had a narrow lead in Massachusetts and Minnesota.
The rush of early results left Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor who spent more than half a billion dollars on advertising, largely out of the running, with his only victory coming in the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
NBC News reported that Bloomberg would reassess whether to stay in the race on Wednesday, but a campaign official said it was inaccurate to suggest his White House bid could end on Wednesday. The official said the campaign reassesses everyday.
Biden, former President Barack Obama's vice president, has enjoyed a burst of momentum since a blowout win in South Carolina on Saturday, which led to endorsements from a flood of prominent party officials and former rivals.
At the start of Mr Biden's victory speech in Los Angeles, the two-term Vice President briefly mixed up his wife and his sister.
"This is my little sister, Valerie," he said, reaching backwards for his wife, Jill.
And turning to his wife, Jill, he said: "And I'm Jill's husband."
Realising his error, he said: "Oh no. They switched on me. This is my wife, this is my sister. They switched on me."
Later his speech was interrupted by protesters chanting "Let Dairy Live".
Meanwhile, Sanders used a lengthy portion of his speech to attack Biden.
He said: "One of us in this race led the opposition to the war in Iraq. You’re looking at him. Another candidate voted for the war in Iraq.
"One of us has spent his entire life fighting against cuts in social security, wanting to expand social security.
"Another candidate has been on the floor of the Senate calling for cuts to social security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans programs.
"One of us led opposition to disastrous trade agreements which costs us millions of good paying jobs.
"And that’s me. And another candidate voted for disastrous trade agreements.
"One of us stood up for consumers and said we will not support a disastrous bankruptcy bill.
"And another candidate represented the credit card companies and voted for that disastrous bill."
Supporters have begun referring to the Biden surge as "Joementum."
That effort gained fresh energy on the eve of Tuesday's voting as moderate presidential rivals Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, endorsed Biden after withdrawing from the race.
The pace of the Democratic race begins to accelerate after Super Tuesday, with 11 more states voting by the end of March.
By then, nearly two-thirds of the delegates will have been allotted.
Sanders headed into Tuesday with 60 delegates to Biden's 54 in the state-by-state nominating fight. Sanders managed a virtual tie with Buttigieg in Iowa and wins in New Hampshire and Nevada.
Besides leading in polls in California, Sanders also is ahead of Biden by a smaller margin in polls in Texas. Sanders' strength with Hispanics should pay dividends in that state, where Latinos comprise one-third of the Democratic electorate.
Biden, whose South Carolina win affirmed his popularity with black voters, hoped to win five states where African Americans make up at least a quarter of the Democratic electorate: Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Democrats living abroad began voting in a primary set to run until March 10.
The last polls closed in California at 8 p.m. PST (0400 GMT on Wednesday).
The next contests, on March 10, will be in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state.
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