Former United States Vice President Joe Biden moved closer to the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday by securing a major win in the key state of Michigan, in a major blow to rival Bernie Sanders, The Guardian reported. He also emerged as a winner in the primaries in Mississippi and Missouri.

The loss in Michigan is enormous for Sanders as he had scored a surprise win in the state four years ago, which helped strengthen his challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

The losses in Michigan and Missouri suggest that Sanders’ popularity among rural mid-western voters was because of their opposition to Clinton, according to The New York Times. The results saw working class white voters, a pillar of Sanders’ presidential campaign, shift away from from him.

Biden has swept the Idaho state Democratic primary in his fourth straight victory of the evening over Sanders, AFP reported quoting US media.

With 85% of the votes counted in Michigan, Biden established a lead over Sanders by more than 1,60,000 votes, CNN reported. Biden stretched his lead in the delegate count to more than 100, not yet halfway through a month with contests that look favorable to his campaign.

By Tuesday night, Biden had 788 pledged delegates as against 633 for Sanders, according to PTI. The two candidates, the only major ones remaining in the race, need at least 1,991 of the 3,979 pledged delegates to win the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.

The primary elections or primaries are part of the nominating process of candidates for US presidential elections. Delegates represent their state at national party conventions. The candidate who receives a majority of the party’s delegates wins the nomination.

Biden has said that he and Sanders share a common goal to defeat US President Donald Trump. “We will defeat him together. We are going to bring this nation together,” he said. He also thanked Sanders’ supporters for their “tireless energy and passion.”

During his speech in Pennsylvania, Biden said that democracy is at stake in this election and the country cannot afford to have another four years of President Donald Trump, who is seeking his second term in the November elections.