Biden sets sights on key Super Tuesday states amid newfound momentum

NORFOLK, Va. -- Former Vice President Joe Biden landed in Virginia on Sunday ahead of the state's Super Tuesday contest with new momentum after a decisive win in South Carolina's Democratic primary.

Biden stumped in Virginia one day after his Palmetto State victory after he shored up endorsements from former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Watchdog blasts government's handling of Afghanistan conflict | Biden asks Pentagon to look into mandatory vaccines | Congress passes new Capitol security bill GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships MORE (D-Va.) and Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottBiden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities House passes bill to ease standards for age discrimination cases MORE (D-Va.).

Biden received a rock star-like reception at a campaign stop in Norfolk, where he was introduced by Virginia Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Defense: Watchdog blasts government's handling of Afghanistan conflict | Biden asks Pentagon to look into mandatory vaccines | Congress passes new Capitol security bill Overnight Defense: House Armed Services starts defense bill markups | Two Navy sailors die of COVID-19 | Pentagon reimposes mask mandate in some places Misled condemnation of the Lebanese Armed Forces will help Hezbollah MORE, Bobby Scott, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who touted his work with the state’s Democrats.

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“This campaign is taking off,” Biden said to a roaring crowd fresh off of his win in South Carolina, before hitting progressive. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAngst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Democrats say they have the votes to advance .5T budget measure MORE (I-Vt.).

“Talk is cheap,” Biden said. “Revolution isn’t changing anyone’s life right now.”

Virginia's primary, along with North Carolina, could play a critical role on Super Tuesday as Sanders (I-Vt.) builds what looks like an insurmountable lead in California.

North Carolina and Virginia have the third and fourth-largest delegate shares of Super Tuesday, with 110 and 99 delegates up for grabs, respectively.

Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg have campaigned heavily in the two southern states, with recent polling showing them in the top three spots. A Sanders campaign aide said they have 12 staff members and 2 campaign office in Virginia, and 27 staff members and 4 campaign offices in North Carolina. 

"The South Carolina momentum could impact the North Carolina swing for Vice President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE," South Carolina-based Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright told The Hill. "The endorsements in Virginia he's received and the momentum of the campaign is going to shift the narratives.”

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Additionally, Biden revealed on Sunday that his campaign raised upwards of $17 million in the month February, with $5 million coming in on the day of the South Carolina primary alone.

Biden will likely look to the states to build on his momentum from South Carolina, especially in neighboring North Carolina.

The campaign dispatched Rep. Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnThe absolute farce that was the Biden-Lemon town hall Ohio becomes battleground for rival Democratic factions Internet service providers spent 0M on lobbying, donations: report MORE (D-S.C.), who is considered a kingmaker in South Carolina politics and the highest ranking African-American in Congress, to North Carolina on Sunday.

 

A new NBC News poll showed Sanders and Biden at 26 and 24 percent support in North Carolina, respectively, with Bloomberg trailing at 15 percent.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, a Wason Center poll from Christopher Newport University showed Biden leading the pack with 22 percent support, followed by Sanders at 17 percent and Bloomberg at 13 percent.

The latest poll out of Virginia marks a shift in that race. A Monmouth University poll from earlier this month showed Sanders and Bloomberg tied in Virginia, while Biden was behind at 18 percent.

“Obviously I think Joe Biden is a reemerging factor in our mathematics,” Bloomberg senior adviser Tim O’Brien told The Hill at a campaign house party in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean on Thursday. “I think after Iowa, gravity started moving towards us among the moderates, and then the debates rocked the balance again.” 

Bloomberg’s campaign has put special stock into Virginia and North Carolina as the mayor prepares to be on the ballot for the first time since launching his presidential bid in November.

His campaign boasts 10 offices in North Carolina with 125 staffers on the ground. In Virginia, Bloomberg has eight offices with over 80 staffers on the ground. Bloomberg has spent the most time in Virginia out of all of the Super Tuesday states, visiting the commonwealth seven times since launching his presidential bid.

Bloomberg’s campaign points to his work campaigning to flip the state’s legislature in 2019, as well as it’s representation of the Democratic Party, as a reason for allocating so many resources to the state.

“Virginia is a microcosm of one part of the future of the party, you know the moderate, progressive, and suburban voters” O’Brien said. “It’s almost like a litmus test for us of how well someone like Mike Bloomberg can play.”

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The former mayor has also worked to appeal to suburban women in Virginia, who have been credited in part for electing Democratic majorities to the state’s legislature in 2019.

“On my first day in office, I will reverse the damage President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE has done to women’s rights with the goal of ensuring that every woman has access to reproductive health care,” Bloomberg said on Saturday at a Women for Mike get-out-the-vote event in McLean. “That includes taking the fight nationwide because state by state too many women have had restricted access, and that’s why it’s so important to flip the Virginia legislature blue this fall, and I was glad to help get it done.”

While Bloomberg’s massive ad buys have blanketed Virginia and the rest of the country, he will still have to contend with Sanders’s grassroots fundraising apparatus, which could help boost the senator in North Carolina and Virginia.

“You cannot win them all -- a lot of states out there and tonight we did not win in South Carolina,” Sanders said as his supporters booed at a rally in Virginia Beach on Saturday. “That will not be the only defeat. There are a lot of states in this country. Nobody wins them all.”

“I want to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory tonight, and now we head to Super Tuesday and Virginia,” he continued, looking ahead to the next Democratic contests.

Despite Biden’s recent momentum coming out of South Carolina and Bloomberg’s ad buys and resources, Sanders’s campaign will likely benefit from its massive, grassroots fundraising apparatus.

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Sanders’s campaign announced early on Sunday that they raked in $46.5 million in February from over 2.2 million donations. Campaign manager Faiz Shakir said that 1.4 million of those donations were from Super Tuesday voters. 

The progressive senator is also poised to lean on his support among young minority voters in the states after performing well with the groups in Nevada and South Carolina.

“There are a couple of reasons why he will do well in Virginia and North Carolina,” former Michigan guernatorial candidate and progressive activist, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, told The Hill. “They each have younger electorates.” “Their early voting took place in a moment when the narrative was still focused on Bernie Sanders.”

“Beyond that, you know, thinking about Super Tuesday as a whole. You got Texas and California where, where he's trying to do extremely well, particularly with the Hispanic community,”he said.

On Sunday morning, Washington’s political commentators and analysts debated how Sanders, Biden, and Bloomberg would approach their messaging on Super Tuesday.

“Tuesday is very simple,” Democratic commentator Van Jones told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperAly Raisman defends former teammate Biles: 'I'm proud of her' House Republican calls second bout of COVID-19 'far more challenging' Fauci says vulnerable populations may need vaccine booster shots MORE on “State of the Union.” "Bernie says congratulations, South Carolina, I’ve got a movement. Bloomberg says I’ve got a money machine, let’s see how that works. Biden says I’ve got me."