Biden: ‘We need to hear from Nevada and South Carolina’ in Democratic primary

Former Vice President Joe Biden brushed off lackluster early returns in the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday, saying that it was time to look at more diverse states such as Nevada and South Carolina for guidance in the Democratic nominating contest.

“It is important that Iowa and Nevada have spoken, but, look, we need to hear from Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday and beyond,” Biden told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Columbia, S.C. 

Biden’s speech came as votes in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary were still being counted. He left the Granite State earlier on Tuesday to travel to South Carolina, the fourth state to vote in the presidential nominating contest and the first in which black voters make up a majority of the Democratic electorate.

Appearing alongside Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biden noted that the vast majority of black voters — “99.9 percent,” he said — “have not yet had a chance to vote” in the primary race. For Latino voters, he said, that number was 99.8 percent.

“I’ve said many times: You can’t be the nominee, you can’t win the general election as a Democrat unless you have the overwhelming support of black and brown voters,” he said.

Back in New Hampshire, Biden was languishing in fifth place. With more than half of precincts reporting, the former vice president carried less than 10 percent of the vote in the Granite State, a showing that largely fell short of expectations. 

Still, he insisted that he would continue to campaign in Nevada, which holds its Democratic caucuses on Feb. 22, and in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Feb. 29, before moving on to the swath of Super Tuesday states on March 3. 

Biden is banking on strong support among black voters to propel his campaign beyond the struggles of the first two nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, and South Carolina is seen as something of a firewall for his campaign. 

But there are signs that that base of support may be cracking for Biden. A Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday showed his support among black voters nationally dropping to 27 percent — a more than 20-point drop since a Quinnipiac poll in January. Meanwhile, candidates such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared to gain support.

In his speech in South Carolina on Tuesday night, Biden cast himself as a steadfast ally of the black community but noted that black voters too often went unrewarded for their support for the Democratic Party. 

“Too often, your loyalty, your support, your commitment to this party have been taken for granted,” he said. “And I give you my word as a Biden, I never, ever, ever will.”

Tags 2020 election Bernie Sanders Black voters Cedric Richmond Democratic primary Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg New Hampshire primary South Carolina

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