Meet Jason Palmer, who beat Biden in American Samoa's Dem caucus

The previously unknown candidate said he had never visited the territory before securing an unexpected victory in the caucus.
Posted at 8:30 PM, Mar 08, 2024

President Joe Biden swept 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 received 51 votes and President Biden received 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 President 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 President 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.

Senate passes $460B short-term government funding bill 75-22
The U.S. Capitol building

Senate passes $460B short-term government funding bill 75-22

The bill now goes to President Biden's desk. He has indicated he will sign the bill, which will keep the government funded for the fiscal year.


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.