Palmer for President

(WASHINGTON) — In a surprising yet politically inconsequential upset on Super Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden lost the American Samoa Democratic caucuses to entrepreneur Jason Palmer.

On Tuesday night, the local Democratic Party chair confirmed to ABC News that Palmer won, though the ballot total was tiny, with less than 100 votes between both candidates.

With 99% of the expected vote reporting, Palmer leads with 56% of the vote, followed by Biden with 44%.

The results mark Biden’s first loss in the nominating race so far. That doesn’t meaningfully change his enormous lead overall, however, as he looks set for a general election rematch with former President Donald Trump.

Palmer told ABC News late Tuesday that he realized he had won American Samoa at precisely 9:30 p.m. ET while sitting in at a hotel in Washington, D.C., when it became apparent to him that something must have happened as his cellphone started ringing off the hook with several media outlets and multiple staffers texting him directly. Palmer is currently in the U.S. capital to attend a future of education conference where he is slated to speak on Wednesday. He was surrounded by other conference-goers when he declared victory.

In a chipper yet surprised mood, Palmer told ABC News: “It feels great.”

“This is the message that Joe Biden needs to hear that the American people want to pass the torch to the next generation,” he added. “And so I thank the people of American Samoa for stepping up to make that statement for the rest of America.”

Palmer did not travel to American Samoa as he opted to focus on other Super Tuesday states such as Minnesota, Colorado and Vermont. He campaigned in the territory hosting over four virtual town halls, since he entered the race in November, including one on Tuesday afternoon where he pitched to over 100 voters why they should select him.

“I think the people in American Samoa really responded positively to my message of civility and inclusion,” he told ABC News. “I was really attentive and listening to their needs for more resources for health care on the island, more resources for education and climate change.”

Palmer detailed how he prepared a six-minute video of the policies that he would implement if he were to be elected president and he believes he won American Samoa because voters there appreciated that he listened. He also suggested that American Samoa voters are looking for the next generation.

“You’re sending a strong message to Joe Biden that he’s been a great public servant for the last 50 years, but it’s time to pass the torch,” he said. “I think a larger percentage of Americans, based on the polls I’ve seen, want Joe Biden to do the right thing and step back and pass the torch to the next generation of Americans. And you know, that could be me, but that could equally be people like Gretchen Whitmer, Jared Polis, Gavin Newsom.”

Palmer said he is currently on the ballot in 16 states and territories and that his next focus is Arizona. In the coming days, he said he plans to release a 12-page paper on how the United States can reform its immigration system.

“We’re going to continue to beat that drum until this election is decided,” he told ABC News.

So who exactly is Jason Palmer?

According to his candidate website, Palmer boasts of previously serving in executive and leadership positions at multiple organizations, including Microsoft, Kaplan Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the impact investor firm New Markets Venture Partners.

Palmer has pointed to that experience in pitching himself as a “problem solver” in the presidential race, promising to create a new Department of Innovation and Technology.

“I kept waiting for someone with a business background to join the race. When they didn’t, I decided to run based on my strong business background,” he said last year, according to MarketWatch.

The business news outlet also reported that Palmer supports “freedom of choice, speech and religion.”

“Palmer brings twenty-five years of experience in small business and multi-partisan fluency to his political endeavors,” his website states, adding, “As an education technology entrepreneur, executive, and investor, he offers rare levels of expertise.”

Speaking with Politico earlier this year, Palmer also cited Biden and Trump’s ages, at 81 and 77, compared to his own age, which Politico reported was 52.

“It’s super important that the next president of the United States be someone who really understands young people,” Palmer said.

“We need to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” he told Politico, adding that he believes the country’s laws should be updated more often than they are now.

A Biden campaign spokesperson brushed off the loss in American Samoa, telling ABC News on Tuesday night that there are unique politics on the island.

American Samoa is a U.S. territory and not a state — so it does not cast electoral votes for president. However, it does hold primary caucuses.

In 2020, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the Democratic winner; in 2016, the last contested Republican caucuses, Trump won.

The Republican presidential caucus will be held on Friday.

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