Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a huge victory for his campaign on Saturday’s primary in South Carolina. The First in the South primary overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Biden, rejuvenating his campaign and narrowing the delegate race between himself and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. This boost for the former vice president will improve his chances of a successful Super Tuesday, which takes place on March 3rd in several states.
Biden captured nearly 50% of the popular vote in the Palmetto State, with Sanders coming in a distant second place. Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer invested most of his resources into the state, but failed to secure any delegates. Steyer, along with Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar all suspended their campaigns following poor performances in the primary, reducing the number of presidential candidates in the race to five. Of those five, Biden and Sanders were the only two who reached the 15% threshold to capture delegates from the contest. 39 of the 54 delegates were awarded to Biden and 15 to Sanders.
Source: ABC News
With Buttigieg, Steyer, and Klobuchar exiting the race, Biden will likely see a boost in his performance in the Super Tuesday contests. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her intentions to endorse Biden while she informed voters of her decision to drop out. The former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, will join the presidential race on Super Tuesday after missing all four of February’s primary elections. With more than 1,000 delegates at stake on March 3rd, Bloomberg can certainly make up some ground; however, his candidacy raises the chances of a contested democratic convention.
Current projections show that none of the candidates running on the democratic ticket will be able to secure the 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot – a projection that could possibly change with three candidates dropping out of the race 48 hours after Saturday’s primary. Since the Democratic National Committee changed voting rules for the primaries, super-delegates will only vote if a candidate fails to win the nomination on the first ballot. If the convention is contested, it may cause some disruptions within the democratic party if the candidate with the most delegates does not win – currently Bernie Sanders has the most delegates.
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As the February primaries come to a close, Bernie Sanders has a slight edge over Joe Biden in the total delegate count. With Biden’s victory in South Carolina however, Sanders could be in for a tougher fight as the momentum from South Carolina may lift Biden’s campaign in states where he was trailing Sanders. Multiple high-level democrats have come out and publicly endorsed Biden over Sanders on the eve of Super Tuesday with the hopes of boosting him back to the front runner status. Buttigieg’s 25 total delegates, and Klobuchar’s 7 total delegates will remain on the table and possibly be reallocated if none of the remaining candidates can secure 1,991 pledged delegates on the first ballot at the convention.
No primary was held on the republican side of the presidential ticket in South Carolina. Similar to Nevada, delegates will be allotted at the time of the republican convention in August. President Trump continues to travel across the nation to hold rallies, with plans to stop in North Carolina on Monday night on the eve of Super Tuesday. While the president does have a republican challenger – former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld – Trump is the presumptive nominee with more than 90% in national polls in the republican primary.