Former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic contender, suggested that South Carolina may be the make-or-break state for his campaign after two dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Biden was asked about whether the Palmetto State is his final stand to make up ground that was lost during the start of 2020 after leading the field in national polls for most of last year. Biden finished in fifth place in New Hampshire and fourth in Iowa, triggering speculation that his main touted advantage over other Democratic candidates—electability—might be showing cracks.
“Well, I think I have to do really well in it, but right,” Biden told NBC News on Sunday about South Carolina’s primary, which is Feb. 29. He noted that then-Gov. Bill Clinton suffered a series of poor primaries during the 1992 campaign cycle before he took home his first primary win and later went on to defeat incumbent President George H.W. Bush.
“Bill Clinton lost his first eight, 10, 12 primaries and caucuses before he won one. I don’t plan on taking that long. But we’re just getting to the meat of getting to the number of delegates you need to be able to win this election. And I’m confident we’re going to be in good shape,” Biden said.
Following the Nevada and South Carolina primaries, the 2020 candidates will face off on the March 4 Super Tuesday. Biden said that in these states, “Polling data is now showing me doing incredibly well.”
Since his losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former vice president has attempted to focus more heavily on courting African American voters. “You can’t win–you can’t take it for granted. Last time we ran it was basically taken for granted,” Biden said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 bid against President Donald Trump.
He said, “I’m the only one who has the record and has the background and has the support. They know me. They know who I am.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed that his support among black voters might be slipping, showing his support among that demographic falling to 27 percent while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support rose to 22 percent.
Ahead of the Nevada caucuses, the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor, Kate Marshall, endorsed Biden.
“In a moment of such intense partisanship and division, the most radical message we as Democrats can offer is one of unity and moving past the Washington gridlock. Joe embodies that spirit and gives me hope that we as a country can move past our current political climate,” said Marshall in a statement on Sunday, according to local station Fox11.