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Who is Jason Palmer? A previously unknown Democrat beats Biden in American Samoa’s Democratic caucus

Mar 5, 2024, 7:03 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Jason Palmer poses for a photo at a Washington hotel in Washingto...

Democratic presidential candidate Jason Palmer poses for a photo at a Washington hotel in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. Palmer, an unknown candidate, won the Democratic primary in American Samoa. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden was sweeping every Democratic contest on Super Tuesday — except for American Samoa.

He fell short there to a previously unknown candidate named Jason Palmer. Out of 91 ballots cast in the territory’s caucus, Palmer won 51 and Biden won 40, according to the local party.

“I found out that I had won because my phone started blowing up with friends and campaign staffers texting me,” Palmer said in an interview late Tuesday.

Palmer, 52, said he never visited the territory before the 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.

The outcome will hardly derail Biden’s march toward his party’s nomination. Only six delegates were at stake in the U.S. territory, a tiny collection of islands in the South Pacific with fewer than 50,000 residents. Palmer and Biden each earned three delegates from the race.

On the day before the caucus, Palmer posted on X that “Washington D.C. 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.

Palmer is a Baltimore resident who has worked for various businesses and nonprofits, often on issues involving technology and education. He said voters want “someone who is more of the 21st century than Joe Biden” to serve as president.

According to campaign finance records, 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 U.S. territories vote in primaries but do not have representation in the Electoral College.

American Samoa has been the site of quixotic victories before. During the 2020 Democratic primaries, billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s only win came in the territory.

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Who is Jason Palmer? A previously unknown Democrat beats Biden in American Samoa’s Democratic caucus