South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston), who reportedly just recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, is a top Republican target in this year’s election for a seat that is typically reliable for the GOP.
The challenger picture just became clearer this weekend, just before today’s candidate filing deadline. Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert, who long ago announced his congressional candidacy, has decided not to pursue federal office. Instead, he will file today for a seat in the state House of Representatives. This is a major plus for state Representative Nancy Mace (R-Daniel Island) who has already received House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s endorsement. This general election campaign will be a top national target.
Term-limited Springdale, SC Mayor Michael Bishop announced yesterday that he will challenge veteran US Rep. Joe Wilson in the June 9th Republican primary. Springdale, a Columbia suburb in Lexington County, is a town of fewer than 3,000 people and also Rep. Wilson’s hometown. Mr. Bishop indicates, however, that he will challenge Mr. Wilson over local issues and if elected will focus only on district concerns. Rep. Wilson remains a heavy favorite for re-nomination and re-election.
Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison had already raised over $7.6 million by the end of 2019 for his race this year against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), and now a new poll finds him closing the spread. The Brilliant Corners survey research company (3/3-11; 804 SC registered voters) just released their results from a poll conducted two weeks ago that projects Mr. Harrison trailing Sen. Graham by just a 47-44% margin.
If this survey proves accurate, the race has significantly changed since NBC News/ Marist College released their poll taken in mid-February. Their online poll of slightly under 2,400 registered voters found Sen. Graham holding a substantial 54-37% edge over Mr. Harrison. Democrats believe this is a sleeper race for them, nationally, and with a strong fundraising operation already in place, the contest could turn competitive despite South Carolina’s strong Republican voting history.
Former Vice President Joe Biden came through as needed on Saturday night in the South Carolina primary and revived his faltering campaign. His 48-20-11-8-7-3% over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), billionaire Tom Steyer, ex-South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-SC), vaulted him back into national contention, and sent two candidates through the exits.
Mr. Biden won 39 of South Carolina’s 54 bound first ballot delegates, with the remaining 15 going to Sen. Sanders. The national delegate count now finds Sen. Sanders leading with 60, followed by Mr. Biden with 54, Mr. Buttigieg 26, Sen. Warren 8, and Sen. Klobuchar, seven. Heading into Super Tuesday voting tomorrow, 14 states and one territory will hold their own nominating events and 1,344 delegates will be apportioned.
Though billionaire candidate Tom Steyer finished third on Saturday in South Carolina, his 11.3% of the popular vote was short of qualifying for delegate apportionment, meaning he had failed to get on the board after four presidential nomination events. Through the end of January, Mr. Steyer had spent over $253,000,000 on his race, with only $3.5 million coming from people other than himself.
Former Vice President Joe Biden looks to be putting some distance between he and the Democratic field. It appears he is returning to his large lead status at precisely the right time.
His polling range swings from +28 percentage points (Starboard Communications; 2/26; 1,102 SC likely Democratic primary voters) to +20 (Monmouth University; 2/23-25; 454 SC likely Democratic primary voters) to +17 (Emerson College; 2/26-27; 425 SC likely Democratic primary voters) to just +4 points (Change Research; 2/23-27; 543 SC likely Democratic primary voters). All signs point to a Biden victory tomorrow. The question that remains is whether or not the South Carolina result will boost his prospects throughout the south on Super Tuesday.
US House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-Columbia/Florence) yesterday formally endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden as expected. Rep. Clyburn’s support will likely help Mr. Biden with African American turnout that will reinforce his polling lead within the state. This is a significant occurrence for Mr. Biden, who was present at the announcement, and will likely help him cement first place in Saturday’s Democratic primary. The key for him now will be to increase his margin to cut into Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) delegate lead heading into Super Tuesday.
Marist College/NBC News tested the South Carolina electorate mainly to gauge the Democratic presidential primary, but they also surveyed the upcoming US Senate race between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and presumed Democratic nominee Jaime Harrison, the former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. The research study (2/18-21; 2,661 SC adults; 2,382 registered voters via telephone interview) finds Sen. Graham topping Mr. Harrison 54-37%. This race has generated some national attention as Mr. Harrison has raised over $7.6 million for the race with $4.7 million cash on hand.
A new survey from North Carolina based Public Policy Polling that was completed yesterday (2/23-24; 866 SC likely Democratic primary voters) for Saturday’s important South Carolina primary. The contest is critical for former Vice President Joe Biden who must score a victory here to reinvigorate his flailing campaign. According to the PPP results, Mr. Biden is now leading 36-21% over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), returning to his earlier status in the state.
No other candidate reaches double digits. If this pattern were to hold, Messrs. Biden and Sanders would split the state’s 54 first ballot delegates. Billionaire Tom Steyer, who is making a major push in South Carolina, is clearly falling off the pace according to the PPP research. He posts only 7% here, tied with former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and one point behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). It remains to be seen if this poll is forging a new trend or an anomaly.
Tonight’s South Carolina presidential debate will feature seven candidates, as billionaire Tom Steyer has been added to the list of six contenders who appeared in Las Vegas. Therefore, the field will consist of former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, ex-Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg, and Mr. Steyer.
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