Biden’s South Carolina Victory Fuels Momentum for Super Tuesday

Sanders leads Democratic field in delegates, fundraising
March 1, 2020 Updated: March 1, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden scored a resounding victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary election on Feb. 29.

The victory breathed life into his campaign after lackluster performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown on Super Tuesday.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, 48.4 percent of South Carolina residents voted for Biden. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came in a distant second with 19.9 percent.

Biden and Sanders earned 33 and 11 South Carolina delegates to the national convention, respectively. Sanders still leads the field in total delegates with 56. Biden is in second place with 48 delegates.

Billionaire Tom Steyer, who came in third in South Carolina and earned no delegates after four state primary contests, dropped out of the race after spending more than $191 million on his bid.

The victory in South Carolina was essential for Biden after he lost the primary contest in three states and dropped to second place in national polling to a surging Sanders.

News from South Carolina will still be fresh as voters in 14 states head to polling places to cast their votes on March 3, Super Tuesday.

More than 34 percent of the total delegates—1,357 of the 3,979—are up for grabs on the decisive day in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

Average polling data by Real Clear Politics as of March 1 showed Sanders in first place in six of the eight most populous Super Tuesday states, including California, Texas, and North Carolina. Biden was in the lead in North Carolina, and no recent polls were conducted in Tennessee.

No candidate held a clear second place in terms of polling across the board in Super Tuesday states, setting up for a potential major victory for Sanders and a mixed bag of outcomes for the rest of the field.

On the heels of the South Carolina victory, Biden vowed he would improve his campaign operation, his fundraising haul, and his own performance and made the case that he’s the candidate who can win up and down the ballot and in states beyond those voting on Super Tuesday.

“I feel good,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I can win, and I can bring along Democratic victories.”

Sanders led in fundraising hauls announced March 1 with an eye-popping $46.5 million for February, his campaign said. The self-described democratic socialist said it’s not the total amount that should impress, but the enthusiasm of working people digging into their pockets for his candidacy.

“No campaign out there has a stronger grassroots movement than we do,” Sanders said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “That’s how you beat Trump.”

Fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren brought in $29 million last month, and Biden trailed with $18 million, but he said he raised $5 million in the previous 24 hours, which is more than any previous day in his campaign.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who is financing his own campaign and has poured over $500 million into advertising, will appear on the ballots for the first time on Super Tuesday.

Seven candidates remain in the Democrats’ quest to find the strongest possible nominee to take on President Donald Trump in November.

Pressure is mounting on the trailing candidates to justify their campaigns or step aside so Biden can engage in a more direct match-up against Sanders.

“It’s not for me to tell another candidate to get out of the race,” Biden said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Biden made his own direct attack on Sanders, saying, “The people aren’t looking for revolution. They’re looking for results.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov