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What's next for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders after Tuesday's primaries

Here is what's coming up in the primary and debate schedule.
Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden gesture during a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)

After Tuesday's Democratic presidential primaries that saw former Vice President Joe Biden extend his delegate lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, what comes next?

As of 1 a.m. ET Wednesday, Biden was leading Sanders in allocated delegates 822 to 663. That number came as votes were still being counted in the six states from Tuesday as well as a handful of Super Tuesday states. At least 1,991 delegates are needed to secure the nomination.

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In a victory speech Tuesday, Biden appeared to start to pivot toward a potential general election match-up with President Donald Trump. In a subdued tone, Biden reached out to Sanders and his supporters, thanking the Vermont senator and his following “for their tireless energy and their passion” and their common goal: to “beat Donald Trump.” 

Some are calling on Sanders to drop out, but others say he should stay in, noting that a debate is scheduled for Sunday. It would be the first one-on-one debate of the 2020 election cycle. Sanders spokeswoman Briahana Joy Gray tweeted a statement Tuesday night that seemed to indicate the senator plans to stay in.

Assuming Sanders stays in, here is what is coming up next.

Northern Mariana holds its caucus Saturday with six delegates.

Then, Biden and Sanders face-off in the debate in Phoenix to air on CNN Sunday. The Democratic National Committee set a requirement to only allow candidates who have won 20% of the delegates so far. That means Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will not attend even though she is still campaigning. The DNC also announced Tuesday that that debate will not have a live audience or additional media present due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Next Tuesday, there will be primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. 577 delegates will be up for grabs.

One week later, Georgia will be up. That will be followed on March 29 with the Puerto Rico primary.

Alaska, Hawaii and Louisiana are first up in April with primaries on Saturday the 4th. Wyoming holds a caucus. That's followed on April 7 with the Wisconsin primary.

Then there is a three-week gap before the next big primary day with Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. 

Six more states and Guam will vote in May and five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands will wrap up the contests in the first week of June.

Somewhere in all this, there may be one more debate that has yet to be scheduled unless Biden or Sanders drops out. The DNC said last year that it was intending to do 12 debates total. The one on Sunday is No. 11.

On the Republican side, Trump is likely to officially secure the nomination next Tuesday when three states vote.