The Latest: Biden adviser says 2 candidates have viable path

Government & Politics By: The Bullet Wire 1:00 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the Democratic presidential primary contest (all times local):

10 p.m.

A senior adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says the candidate’s first-place finish in South Carolina signal there are “only two candidates remaining with a viable path to the nomination.”

Anita Dunn told The Associated Press on Saturday that Biden’s strengths in South Carolina with black voters position him well for the delegate-rich states that vote on March 3, Super Tuesday.

Biden and other candidates are hoping to keep Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from barreling out of the Super Tuesday contests with an insurmountable delegate lead.

Dunn also drew a comparison between Biden and former President Barack Obama. She said Obama’s victory in the 2008 South Carolina primary was his “springboard to the presidency, and we’re on our way to saying the same thing about Joe Biden.”


9:40 p.m.

Joe Biden has declared his presidential campaign back in a big way before a throng of supporters elated with his big win in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary.

Biden said Saturday night: “For all of those of you who’ve been knocked down, counted out and left behind, this is your campaign.”

The 77-year-old former vice president was celebrating his first nominating contest victory in three bids for the White House. It comes after dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire and a distant second-place finish in Nevada.

Biden cast himself as the candidate who can represent “the soul of the Democratic Party” and “restore the soul of the nation.”

His win renews his confidence, but it will be immediately tested Tuesday, when 14 states hold primaries and Mike Bloomberg is on the ballot for the first time.


9:30 p.m.

Tom Steyer is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.

The billionaire activist made the announcement Saturday night after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary. Joe Biden notched his first primary win in the state, while Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders finished second.

Steyer said that at this point, “honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency.”

He said he got into the race because he didn’t think racial injustice was being addressed in the country. He said he will continue to work to address that issue. He also thanked his supporters and pledged that he would never forget South Carolina, where he focused most of his presidential efforts.

“The people who have endorsed me have stood up in a very red state where I have seen things that have broken my heart,” Steyer said.

He added: “I’m not leaving. We are already working to figuring out ways to make sure that we stay in South Carolina.”


9:05 p.m.

An aide to Tom Steyer says the Democratic presidential candidate is set to make an announcement Saturday night.

Details of the announcement were not immediately clear.

He finished far behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in South Carolina’s primary.


8:50 p.m.

Mike Bloomberg’s Democratic presidential campaign is ignoring Joe Biden’s South Carolina win and emphasizing that the only states they’re competing in have yet to vote.

Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said Saturday night that “Bloomberg has not been on the ballot yet.” He added that Bloomberg is “the only candidate to campaign in all fourteen Super Tuesday states over the last two months, and we look forward to Tuesday.”

The former New York mayor was not on the ballot in South Carolina and instead spent Saturday campaigning in Virginia and North Carolina, two states that vote Tuesday.

President Donald Trump offered his own thoughts on Biden’s South Carolina win with a tweet calling it “the end of Mini Mike Bloomberg’s Joke of a campaign” and charging that Bloomberg had Biden “split up his very few voters.” Trump’s comments echo those of some Democrats who say Bloomberg should drop out and allow Biden to consolidate moderate voters in order to keep the nomination away from Sanders.


8:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is trying to take his second-place finish in South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary in stride.

Addressing thousands of supporters at Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach on Saturday night, Sanders noted that he’d won New Hampshire and Nevada and secured a virtual tie for first in Iowa.

“But you can’t win ‘em all,” Sanders said. “A lot of states out there, and tonight we did not win in South Carolina.”

As the crowd booed, Sanders added, “That will not be the only defeat. There are a lot of states in this country, and nobody wins them all.”

He congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden on winning South Carolina, then said he was looking to Virginia, which is one of 14 states voting in three days on “Super Tuesday.”

Sanders at one point had predicted victory in South Carolina, but stopped saying that as the vote neared and polls showed Biden pulling away.


8:40 p.m.

Shortly after congratulating Joe Biden for winning the South Carolina primary, his Democratic presidential rival Elizabeth Warren accused him of being too eager to cut deals with Republicans.

Speaking in Houston on Saturday, Warren said Biden was too willing to “trade good ideas for bad ones.”

Warren says Vermont Bernie Sanders has good ideas but also a 30-year record in which “he consistently calls for things that fail to get done” and opposes things he fails to stop.

And former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Warren says, believes his wealth “entitles him to be the president.” She alleges he would “govern to protect himself and his rich friends over everyone else.”

Warren acknowledged the first four contests in the Democratic primary had not gone well for her campaign but pledged to fight for as many delegates as possible on Super Tuesday.


8:35 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says her presidential campaign is moving forward to Super Tuesday after falling short in another primary.

Speaking at a rally Saturday night in Houston, Warren congratulated former Vice President Joe Biden for winning the South Carolina primary. She says the first four contests hadn’t gone exactly as she hoped.

Warren says her campaign “is built for the long haul.”

She also says full results from Super Tuesday may take days to emerge but will be critical to deciding the Democratic presidential nominee.

Warren had her best finish of the primary season in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, finishing third. She finished fourth in both New Hampshire and Nevada and could finish worse than that in South Carolina.


8:25 p.m.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is cautioning Democrats that it’s still early in their presidential primary season after Joe Biden’s victory in South Carolina.

Speaking at a North Carolina Democratic Party fundraising gala on Saturday night, Perez noted that to win the nomination, a Democrat must win 1,991 delegates — and only a fraction of those have been allocated in the party’s first four primaries.

“I used to run marathons,” he said. “We’re at, like, mile three or four of the marathon.”

Perez said that “we have a long way to go” and noted that about a third of the delegates will be allocated three days from now, when 14 states and one U.S. territory vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday contest.

Perez touted the field of “remarkably qualified candidates,” and downplayed the contentious debates, telling the crowd to go back and look at the “game film” from the 2008 South Carolina debate with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Perez also insisted that, like in 2008 when “we all came together,” the party will unite again after this primary to defeat Donald Trump.


8:20 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is looking ahead to Super Tuesday after Joe Biden’s victory in South Carolina.

In a fundraising email with the subject line “Tonight,” the Minnesota senator on Saturday thanked her team and said her “scrappy homegrown campaign has grown into a powerful nationwide movement.” But, she says, “there is still a long way to go.”

Biden easily won South Carolina’s primary, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. It was too early to determine the order of the others.

Klobuchar finished in a better-than-expected third place in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state. But a week and a half later, she ended up sixth in Nevada.

Klobuchar has pushed back on suggestions that she should drop out of the race amid concerns that multiple moderate candidates are splitting the vote.

She has said she’s staying in at least through Super Tuesday, when her home state is among the 14 that will vote.

Klobuchar also has scheduled a campaign event Tuesday in Missouri, which holds its primary March 10.


8:10 p.m.

Fresh off his first-ever primary victory, former Vice President Joe Biden is getting a Super Tuesday campaign trail boost from one of his highest-level backers.

Biden’s presidential campaign announced Saturday that House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn would campaign Sunday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, along with Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin.

Biden was declared the victor in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, a contest that came just days after Clyburn publicly announced his support.

But the top black member of Congress and kingmaker of South Carolina’s Democratic political circles made it clear he felt Biden’s campaign needed a retooling, saying earlier Saturday that he saw a need for more aggressive fundraising in later stages of the campaign.


8:05 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has won second place in South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary, a respectable showing in a state dominated by Joe Biden.

The Vermont senator had won the past two contests in Nevada and New Hampshire. He also tied for first with former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is set to address supporters later Saturday night at a rally in Virginia, where scattered boos were heard as Biden was announced as the winner in South Carolina.

Biden’s win could work to blunt Sanders’ momentum heading into Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa weigh in on the race.

It’s Biden’s first primary win in the 2020 election season, with Sanders garnering the most votes in the first three contests.


7:35 p.m.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has endorsed Joe Biden’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination after the former president’s victory in the South Carolina primary.

McAuliffe said Saturday on CNN that he had been considering the decision but wanted to see who “wins the heart of the African American community.” A majority of South Carolina Democratic voters are black.

McAuliffe gives Biden another establishment Democratic endorsement. A former national party chairman and prodigious fundraiser, McAuliffe joins Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in endorsing Biden ahead of their state’s Super Tuesday primary next week.

Dorothy McAuliffe, Terry’s wife, already had endorsed and campaigned for Biden.

The Biden campaign hopes that the slew of high-profile endorsers provides some counter to billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s advertising deluge that Biden cannot compete with. Bloomberg’s central case has been that Biden is too weak to win the nomination and defeat President Donald Trump in November.


7:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is weighing in on Democratic rival Joe Biden’s primary win in South Carolina, saying it should mark the end of Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.

Trump tweeted shortly after Biden was declared the winner of the first-in-the-South primary Saturday. The president said that Biden’s win “should be the end” of Bloomberg’s “Joke of a campaign.”

The billionaire Bloomberg wasn’t on the ballot in South Carolina. He skipped the first four nominating states to focus on “Super Tuesday” instead, when 14 states and American Samoa vote next week.

Trump is keenly focused on the Democratic nomination fight, and he mentions the race often, including earlier Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he predicted that Biden would have a “very big win today.


7:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ supporters gathering for a rally in Virginia offered scattered boos as Joe Biden was announced as the winner of the South Carolina primary.

Much of the crowd was still arriving for a rally set to begin at 8 p.m. ET at a gymnasium at Virginia Wesleyan University when a projection screen tuned to CNN showed the former vice president predicted to win South Carolina.

It’s Biden’s first primary win in the 2020 election season, with Sanders garnering the most votes in the first three contests.

Some Sanders supporters who had counted down the final seconds before polls closed began booing at the results, though that faded shortly.

Shara Iglesias, a 25-year-old junior studying education at nearby Norfolk State University said she thinks Sanders, a Vermont senator, will win Virginia, which votes in three days on “Super Tuesday.”

Iglesias said, “I think he’s going to do a lot better here.”


7:10 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is thanking South Carolina voters after his victory in the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

Biden tweeted Saturday night shortly after the polls closed: “Thank you, South Carolina!” He says, “To all those who have been knocked down, counted out, and left behind — this is your campaign.”

Biden’s South Carolina watch party erupted when The Associated Press and television networks called the state’s primary for him.

The Columbia scene, with more than a thousand supporters filling the University of South Carolina’s volleyball gymnasium, was quite different compared to that in Iowa and New Hampshire just weeks ago.

Biden’s Iowa crowd was late arriving and obviously relieved when a meltdown of the caucus count spared Biden having to acknowledge his fourth-place finish. In New Hampshire, Biden wasn’t even there for his fifth-place finish, having bailed on the state to speak in South Carolina.

Biden finished his tweet by saying, “Together, we will win this nomination and beat Donald Trump.”


7 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

It was his first victory in three tries at the Democratic nomination, and it came during the fourth Democratic primary contest of the 2020 election season.

Biden’s win could work to blunt front-runner Bernie Sanders’ momentum heading into Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa weigh in on the race.

Only Biden and California billionaire Tom Steyer planned to mark primary night in the state, as the rest of the field stumped across the spectrum of Super Tuesday states that vote next week.

About 40% of voters in South Carolina picked health care as the top issue, while 22% said the economy and jobs are most important. That’s according to an AP VoteCast survey of the electorate. Fourteen percent of voters identified climate change.

Close to 9 in 10 Democratic voters said it’s important for their nominee to be a strong leader.


Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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