The Latest: Bloomberg campaign minimizes Biden’s S.C. win


Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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

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.


5:45 p.m.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says it’s time for a major revamping of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign if the former vice president is going to be successful.

Clyburn announced his endorsement of Biden earlier in the week. But the South Carolina Democrat told CNN that “we will have to sit down and get serious about how we retool this campaign” following his state’s primary Saturday. If Biden wins the contest, Clyburn said, “many of us around the country will be able to join with him and help him get it right.”

He added, “You’ll see a massive difference in the campaign efforts.”

Clyburn is the highest-ranking black member of Congress and South Carolina’s Democratic kingmaker. He endorsed Biden in the hope of giving his campaign the boost it needed following earlier contests. Clyburn said Saturday that he’d had concerns about the campaign, including its lagging fundraising, but hadn’t felt comfortable addressing it before his endorsement.


4:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is using his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference to make fun of his Democratic opponents.

Trump on Saturday mocked Joe Biden’s gaffes, which include naming the wrong state he was campaigning in. Trump says the former vice president couldn’t be “easier to beat.”

Trump was impeached last year by the Democratic-led House after pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter while putting a hold on military aid to the country. Trump was acquitted earlier this month by the Republican-led Senate.

Trump also mocked Mike Bloomberg, whom he frequently derides as “Mini Mike” for his stature. Noting Elizabeth Warren’s biting criticism of Bloomberg at the debate, Trump imitated Bloomberg wanting to get off the stage.

The president crouched down in front of the lectern, with just part of his face showing, and said, “Get me off this stage!” as the audience roared.

Trump’s speech came as Democrats in South Carolina headed to the polls to decide which candidate should be the party’s presidential nominee.


4:10 p.m.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren says a nondisclosure agreement concerning Bernie Sanders’ political advocacy group and a political consultant who alleged racial discrimination should be released.

Warren told reporters in Columbia on Saturday that, while she did not know the details, “my views on the NDA is to cover up the women’s stories here. I believe the NDA should be released.”

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Our Revolution entered into a nondisclosure agreement with a black political consultant that bars her from discussing a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at the organization and the Vermont senator’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The consultant confirmed the existence of the nondisclosure agreement to the AP without providing additional details. Neither Warren nor Sanders planned to be in South Carolina Saturday night as votes were tallied in that state’s primary.


3:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is planning to a televised address on the coronavirus, promoting himself as someone with experience to reassure and protect the public.

His campaign said Saturday that Bloomberg will deliver a three-minute message on Sunday night on CBS and NBC. The taped address is titled “Leadership in Crisis” and will air at approximately 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The campaign hasn’t said how much Bloomberg is paying for the commercial time.

In the address, Bloomberg is expected to discuss his “steady leadership” as mayor of New York to the threat of terrorism, as well as a hurricane, the West Nile virus and swine flu.

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump’s update on COVID-19, following the first death from the virus in the United States. Vice President Mike Pence has announced new travel restrictions and warnings.

Trump said 22 people in the U.S. have been stricken by the new coronavirus, and four are deemed “very ill” and that additional cases are “likely.”


1:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says his success in the Democratic primary race means “the establishment is getting very nervous.” But he stopped short of predicting victory in South Carolina.

The Vermont senator on Saturday addressed thousands in Boston, near the home of presidential rival and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, declaring “this is a big crowd, whoa.”

He said the nation’s big banks, military industrial complex and prescription drug companies fear his campaign and “tonight they are going to turn on the TV and find that 10,000 people came out to the Boston Common and they are going to get even more nervous.”

Sanders said he’d defeat President Donald Trump in November because in “the cradle of democracy we are not going to let this country move to autocracy.”

That implies Sanders winning his party’s primary. But, even though he’s previously predicted a win in South Carolina’s primary, he didn’t repeat that in Boston.


12:50 p.m.

Tom Steyer says he feels good going into South Carolina’s primary vote and is ready for whatever lies ahead.

The California billionaire said while meeting with supporters and canvassers at his state headquarters in Columbia on Saturday that he has been energized by his campaign in the state and is making a commitment to foment change, regardless of the election’s outcome.

Steyer has been focusing most of his campaign’s efforts on South Carolina, where a high percentage of the Democratic electorate is black. He spent more time in the state than any other candidate, always mentioning his support for reparations and equalization of what he sees as race-based injustices in education, health care and the environment.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has led the polling in South Carolina, but Steyer has shown growing support.

At an election-eve rally on Friday night, he said he would be back regardless to focus on efforts including voter registration.


11 a.m.

Mike Bloomberg is making an appeal to suburban women as he campaigns in Virginia. Suburban women are a key demographic group for Bloomberg in a state that’s central to his Super Tuesday strategy.

The former New York mayor appeared at a Northern Virginia “Women for Mike” event Saturday and spoke about the influence women have had in his life, declaring that “all my success, everything I’ve done is thanks to the strong women that I’ve been lucky enough to have around me.” He touted his close relationship with his late mother, and said if she saw the crowds that came to his rallies, she’d tell him “don’t let it go to your head.”

Bloomberg went after President Donald Trump, charging that “he threatens women’s health and women’s safety with his policies,” and pledged to protect and expand women’s rights by eliminating wage discrimination and ensuring all Americans get 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Prior to speaking, Bloomberg was introduced by a woman he appointed to key roles at City Hall while mayor. She was joined onstage by a group of women who said they had worked with him for decades.

The event comes as the businessman has faced attacks from his primary opponents focused on allegations made in lawsuits by former employees that he fostered a sexist workplace culture and in some cases made crude and sexist remarks himself. Bloomberg has denied the allegations.


9:45 a.m.

Looking for victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary on Saturday, Joe Biden said the “bigger the win, the bigger the bump.” But as he visited a polling site in Greenville, South Carolina, the former vice president insisted he doesn’t have to win by a particular margin if he hopes to catch early delegate leader Bernie Sanders.

“I don’t think it’ll even be over after Super Tuesday,” Biden said of the 15 contests looming next week. “I think it’s going to go on to states that are ones that I feel very good about.”

Sanders has led voting in the first three contests, but Biden is the heavy favorite to win in South Carolina. The question is what kind of momentum that gives Biden heading into Tuesday, when mega-billionaire Mike Bloomberg will be on the primary ballots for the first time.

“There’s all kinds of analyses that suggest that he may cut into my base, he may not cut into my base,” Biden said of Bloomberg. “Michael’s gonna spend. I don’t know how much he’s spent already. … I just don’t know how it cuts.”


7:15 a.m.

Polls are opening across South Carolina as Democrats make their selections in the state’s presidential primary.

Voting is open on Saturday until 7 p.m. ET throughout the state. There are a dozen candidates on the ballot, although the slate of names was set before some dropped out of the race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has expressed confidence of victory in South Carolina, a state where he has long relationships and has led recent surveys. The state could be Biden’s first primary win in four tries at the White House.

There is no party registration in South Carolina, meaning Republicans — who have no primary here — are free to vote in the Democratic contest.


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

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