The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to South Carolina to turn around campaign

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE needs a win. And he’s hoping that South Carolina will give it to him. 

Since voting began in the Democratic nominating contest earlier this month, the former vice president has seen his long-held frontrunner status slip away and questions about his electability emerge. What’s more, he’s still competing with several candidates for the support of moderate voters, while his chief rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), has largely run away with the progressive vote.

But his campaign argues that South Carolina will be different. Biden’s support among black voters remains strong and black voters are expected to make up a majority of the primary vote in the Palmetto State. He’s also leading the pack in polls here — by double digits in some — and his allies say that a win on Saturday will give him the momentum he needs to emerge as the clear alternative to Sanders heading into Super Tuesday.

But how much the South Carolina primary will weigh on the rest of the race is unclear. Sanders is the favorite to win in delegate-rich Super Tuesday states, like California and Texas, and Biden is still facing a crowded moderate lane that has made it difficult for any one candidate to consolidate support. He’ll also have to contend with former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE — and his immense personal fortune — on Super Tuesday, a factor that threatens to further divide the centrist vote in the primary.

Sanders, who has supplanted Biden as the frontrunner following back-to-back wins in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses, is under no illusions about Biden’s strength in the Palmetto State, opting to spend primary day in Virginia rather than stick it out in South Carolina. But that didn’t stop him from going after Biden during a rally in Spartanburg on Thursday, in which he insisted that the former vice president would be a general election liability for Democrats if he wins the nomination.

“I don’t believe that Joe can beat Trump when he voted for the war in Iraq,” Sanders said. “I don’t believe Joe can beat Trump when people understand he voted with NAFTA and [Permanent Normal Trade Relations] with China. Terrible trade agreements that cost us millions of jobs.”

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Regardless, Biden and his allies are confident that South Carolina will be a turning point for his campaign. We’ll find out on Saturday.

–Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE: 

Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary, by Max Greenwood 

Sanders zeroes in on Super Tuesday states, by Jonathan Easley

Sanders, socialism emerge as top targets at CPAC, by Julia Manchester and Tal Axelrod

Sanders’s rise unnerves K Street, by Alex Gangitano

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

While all eyes will be on South Carolina on Saturday, most of the candidates will already have their sights set on the southern Super Tuesday states. Bloomberg will spend his Saturday morning campaigning in the Washington, D.C.,-suburb of Tysons Corner, Va., before he travels to Charlotte, N.C. Sanders will hold rallies in Norfolk, Va., and Virginia Beach on Saturday afternoon and evening. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.) will spend her Saturday making stops in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Biden will also crisscross the South, heading to Selma, Ala., and Norfolk on Sunday, before heading to Texas on Monday. Former South Bend Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE will hold a virtual town hall from South Carolina on Saturday before heading to Nashville, Raleigh, N.C., and Dallas. 

 

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES: 

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Senate panel passes amendment to bar using troops against protesters Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests MORE (D-Va.) officially threw his support behind Biden on Friday, days before Virginians go to vote in their state’s Democratic primary. “I will vote in the Virginia presidential primary for Joe Biden. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE wisely chose Joe as his partner in the White House,” Kaine, the 2016 vice presidential nominee, said in a statement. 

 

The Hill’s Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos report that centrist congressional Democrats supporting moderate presidential contenders are pushing back on Sanders’s argument that the candidate with the most delegates heading into the convention, even if it’s not a majority, should be the party’s nominee.

 

Florida Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzFloyd’s brother urges Congress to take action Philonise Floyd asks Congress to deliver justice for his brother Overnight Defense: Senate confirms US military’s first African American service chief | Navy to ban display of Confederate flags | GOP lawmakers urge Trump not to cut troops in Germany MORE (R) revealed that he will no longer accept PAC money during a speech on Thursday at CPAC. “The PAC donation process — with its expectations of exchanging favors and time for money — renders public service, which should be among the nation’s most noble professions, dangerously close to the oldest profession,” Gaetz said. 

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Paul Bledsoe: To winnow primary field, Obama and other leaders must speak out

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Bradley A. Blakeman: No time for partisan politics around pandemic

Lou Cannon: Mike Bloomberg’s fuzzy math

Moira Donegan: Warren is not done yet

 

POLL WATCH:

CNN/SRS — TEXAS 

Sanders: 29 percent 

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Biden: 20 percent 

Bloomberg: 18 percent 

Warren: 15 percent 

 

CNN/SRS — CALIFORNIA 

Sanders: 35 percent 

Warren: 14 percent 

Biden: 13 percent 

Bloomberg: 12 percent 

 

Los Angeles Times-Berkeley IGS — CALIFORNIA 

Sanders: 34 percent 

Warren: 17 percent 

Bloomberg: 12 percent 

Buttigieg: 11 percent 

Biden: 8 percent 

Klobuchar: 6 percent 

 

WBUR — MASSACHUSETTS 

Sanders: 25 percent 

Warren: 17 percent 

Buttigieg: 14 percent 

Bloomberg: 13 percent 

Biden: 9 percent 

 

MARQUETTE LAW SCHOOL — WISCONSIN 

Sanders: 29 percent 

Bloomberg: 17 percent 

Biden: 15 percent 

Buttigieg: 13 percent 

Klobuchar: 11 percent 

Warren: 9 percent 

Click Here: New Zealand rugby storeMAGELLAN STRATEGIES — COLORADO 

Sanders: 27 percent 

Warren: 15 points 

Buttigieg: 12 percent 

Biden: 11 percent 

Bloomberg: 11 percent

Klobuchar: 6 percent 

Steyer: 1 percent 

Gabbard: 1 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

There are 1 days until the South Carolina primary and 4 days until Super Tuesday. 

 

ONE FUN THING:

PINT SIZED FAN: Former 2020 presidential contender and Warren supporter Julián Castro brought his young son, Cristián, along to a campaign event for the Massachusetts senator recently, and it looks like the younger Castro is all in for Warren! 

The youngster smiled wide for the camera during Warren’s speech and enthusiastically clapped his hands. 

Check out this video from Castro’s communications director, Sawyer Hackett: 

 

 

“Could he be saying ‘it’s time for a wealth tax?'” Warren’s national Latinx outreach director Jonathan Jayes-Green, replied on Twitter to the video. 

We don’t know about that, but it looks like Cristián is feeling pretty good ahead of South Carolina. 

We’ll see you next week with a Super Tuesday preview! 

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