STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Biden wins South Carolina, hopes for Super Tuesday momentum

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes photos with supporters at a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes photos with supporters at a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The race now quickly shifts toward next week’s “Super Tuesday,” when voters in 14 states award one third of the total number of presidential delegates.

Posted: Mar 1, 2020 4:16 PM

Joe Biden scored a convincing victory in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Saturday, riding a wave of African American support and ending progressive rival Bernie Sanders’ winning streak.

The victory came at a a crucial moment in Biden’s 2020 bid as the moderate Democrat bounced back from underwhelming performances in the first three contests. The race now quickly shifts toward next week’s “Super Tuesday,” when voters in 14 states award one third of the total number of presidential delegates.

Biden hopes the South Carolina victory will be enough to establish him as the clear alternative to Sanders as the race moves into a new phase. Standing in Biden’s way is former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, who has spent more than half a billion dollars courting voters in dozens of states yet to vote.

The South Carolina primary was the first major test of the candidates’ appeal among black voters. And while it gave the 77-year-old Biden a win when he most needed it, he must still prove that he has the financial and organizational resources to dramatically expand his campaign in the next 72 hours. He will also be under pressure to rely on his decades-long relationships with party leaders to create a new sense of inevitability around his candidacy.

Even before news of Biden’s win was declared, Bloomberg announced his own plan to deliver a three-minute prime-time address Sunday night on two television networks. He didn’t say how much he paid for the air time, which is unprecedented in recent decades.

And Sanders was already peeking ahead to Super Tuesday, betting he can amass an insurmountable delegate lead at that point. After two consecutive victories and a tie for the lead in Iowa, the 78-year-old Vermont senator’s confidence is surging.

Sanders was spending the lead-up to Super Tuesday campaigning in the home states of two major Democratic rivals, betting he can score a double knockout blow — or at least limit the size of their victories.

In a power play, Sanders hosted a midday rally Saturday in downtown Boston, campaigning in the heart of liberal ally Elizabeth Warren’s political turf. Addressing a crowd of thousands on the Boston Common, Sanders said his success in the Democratic primary means “the establishment is getting very nervous” — but he never predicted victory in South Carolina.

On the eve of Super Tuesday, Sanders will host a concert in Minnesota, where home-state Sen. Amy Klobuchar is looking for her first win.

Sanders’ senior adviser Jeff Weaver was among the staffers dispatched to California on Saturday. He said Sanders is aggressively hunting for delegates, noting that their campaign’s experience during the 2016 primary against Hillary Clinton taught them that any candidate who finishes Super Tuesday with a significant delegate advantage will be difficult to catch.

“I’m confident we’re going to do very, very well across the country,” Weaver said of the coming days. He also sought to downplay the importance of South Carolina, where “Biden is expected to win.”

“For the vice president, he needs an extraordinarily large win in South Carolina in order to convince folks he’s going to be able to go the distance,” he said.

Yet the Democrats’ 2020 primary election is far from a two-person race.

In South Carolina, billionaire activist Tom Steyer has spent more than $19 million on television advertising — more than all the other candidates combined — in his quest for his first top finish in four contests. At his state campaign headquarters on Saturday, Steyer said he felt optimistic going into the vote and was looking ahead to trips to Alabama and Texas, two Super Tuesday states.

Not ceding anything, Pete Buttigieg is fighting to prove he can build a multiracial coalition. And with the help of super PACs, Warren and Klobuchar have vowed to keep pushing forward no matter how they finish on Saturday.

Still, Saturday was all about Biden and whether he might convince anxious establishment Democrats rally behind him at last.

Elected officials inclined to embrace his moderate politics had been reluctant to support him after bad finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire and a distant second place in Nevada last week. Yet fearing Sanders’ polarizing progressive priorities, they’re still searching for an alternative who’s viewed as a safer bet to defeat Trump in November.

Senior Biden adviser Symone Sanders shifted away from calling South Carolina Biden’s “firewall” and instead called it a “springboard,” on par with how the state boosted the presidential aspirations of Barack Obama in 2008 and Clinton in 2016.

That sentiment was echoed by former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod, who said a big Biden win in South Carolina could give him a Super Tuesday boost that might force several candidates to quickly consider whether to proceed, including Bloomberg.

“If Biden wins by a big margin, it will translate into a bigger day for him on Tuesday,” Axelrod said. “And if he beats Bloomberg by a significant margin on Tuesday, Bloomberg is going to have to consider what he’s doing here.”

Indeed, South Carolina represents much more than the fourth state on the Democrats’ months-long primary calendar.

It serves as the first major test of the candidates’ strength with African American voters, who will be critical both in the general election and the rest of the primary season.

African American voters in South Carolina backed Biden over any other candidate by a significant margin, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate. Close to half of black voters supported him, compared with 2 in 10 supporting Sanders and about the same for businessman Tom Steyer.

There was also evidence that Biden’s status as former President Barack Obama’s two-term vice president helped him win over African Americans.

VoteCast found that about 4 in 10 voters in South Carolina wanted to return to the politics of the past, compared to about a third in Iowa and New Hampshire. That includes the roughly 50% of African American voters who said they want a Democratic presidential nominee who would emulate the Obama’s presidency.

By comparison, roughly two-thirds of white voters wanted a presidential candidate who would bring fundamental change to Washington.

While voting technology was a concern in two of the last three primary contests, South Carolina uses a wide array of voting technology that presents unique challenges.

Saturday’s election in South Carolina marks the first statewide test of its new fleet of electronic voting machines, a $50 million upgrade from an old and vulnerable system that lacked any paper record of individual votes. The new machines produce a paper record that can be verified by the voter and checked after the election to detect any malfunction or manipulation.

___

Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Washington and Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Thomas Beaumont in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 97°
Florence
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 99°
Fayetteville
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 86°
Decatur
Few Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 98°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 93°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 55986

Reported Deaths: 685
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12549208
Davidson12234132
Rutherford323437
Hamilton300736
Sumner172755
Williamson151515
Trousdale15035
Knox13929
Out of TN12307
Wilson106017
Putnam9267
Robertson87511
Bradley8744
Sevier8573
Unassigned8302
Lake6960
Tipton6625
Bledsoe6241
Montgomery6207
Bedford5898
Macon5114
Maury4063
Hamblen3974
Hardeman3744
Fayette3443
Madison3392
Loudon3021
Rhea2930
Blount2723
Dyer2703
McMinn25518
Cheatham2432
Dickson2310
Washington1970
Cumberland1934
Lawrence1926
Anderson1662
Lauderdale1643
Sullivan1592
Jefferson1481
Gibson1471
Monroe1416
Smith1362
Coffee1320
Greene1222
Hardin1197
Obion1172
Cocke1160
Haywood1082
Franklin1013
Marshall1011
Warren1000
Hickman950
Wayne900
Marion874
McNairy841
Lincoln780
Giles771
White773
Carter751
Roane710
DeKalb700
Overton671
Weakley671
Hawkins662
Grundy652
Campbell621
Claiborne590
Henderson560
Unicoi560
Carroll491
Chester480
Grainger480
Polk480
Henry470
Crockett443
Johnson440
Sequatchie420
Cannon410
Humphreys352
Perry350
Meigs340
Jackson330
Morgan291
Fentress250
Stewart250
Decatur240
Scott210
Union190
Clay180
Moore170
Houston160
Benton131
Hancock90
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events