Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: February 22-28, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.        

Notable Quotes of the Week

“This year’s Democratic primary in South Carolina might be the most important competition in the contest’s short history. Since first becoming a binding primary in 1988, the state’s contest has become a bellwether for an important constituency: Southern African American voters. Though most Southern states aren’t competitive in general elections, Southern African Americans form the base of the Democratic Party and are essential to its success, even if pundits more frequently focus on swing states and suburban voters.

That is why the winner in South Carolina has won the Democratic nomination every year except 1988 and 2004. If a Democratic candidate can’t appeal to these crucial African American voters, he or she is unlikely to win the nomination or the presidency.”

– Robert Greene II, assistant professor of history at Claflin University

“The 2016 Republican and 2020 Democratic primaries have been different. In both instances, the field emerging from Nevada has been roughly the size of a typical Iowa field. The field will likely narrow further after South Carolina, but there is a reasonable chance we will have four or five serious Democrats competing on Super Tuesday.

These sorts of fields are fertile soil for factional candidates to use their basic level of support to take root in the primary field. Trump probably started out with the firm support of around 20-25% of the Republican Party. But because the other votes were spread out over multiple candidates, that 20-25% produced strong showings in early states. Once the candidate wins the early races, it allows him to take hold as a legitimate candidate and then proceed to broaden his appeal.

That’s what happened in 2016, and it’s what is happening in 2020.”

– Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics

Week in Review

Nevada caucus results

Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22. With 100% of precincts reporting, he received 47% of the county convention delegates used to determine the number of pledged delegates allocated to each candidate. Joe Biden followed with 20% of the county convention delegates. Pete Buttigieg came in third with 14%.

Sanders won 24 of Nevada’s 36 pledged delegates, giving him the overall delegate lead. Biden won nine, and Buttigieg won three.

On the Republican side, the Nevada Republican Party bound the state’s 25 delegates to Donald Trump at its winter meeting. The party voted on September 7, 2019, to cancel its caucus.

South Carolina Democratic primary takes place on Saturday

Fifty-four pledged delegates are at stake in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Feb. 29. It is the final primary event before Super Tuesday on Mar. 3.

Absentee voting in South Carolina surpassed 2016 levels two days before the primary with 50 percent more ballots cast, according to The Post and Courier.

The following candidates appear on the ballot: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.

Five candidates who suspended their campaigns also appear on the ballot: Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, John Delaney, Deval Patrick, and Andrew Yang.

Super Tuesday features 14 states and one territory, 34% of all Democratic pledged delegates

Fourteen states and one territory are holding a presidential primary event on Super Tuesday on Mar. 3:

In total, 1,344 pledged delegates in the Democratic primary are at stake on Super Tuesday, representing 34% of all pledged delegates. In comparison, the four Democratic primaries and caucuses held in February accounted for just 4% of the pledged delegates.

The Democrats Abroad, the political party affiliate for American citizens living outside of the United States, is also beginning its primary on Tuesday. This global primary will conclude on March 10.

Seven candidates debate in South Carolina on Tuesday

Joe BidenMichael BloombergPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren debated in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday night. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute hosted the event.

The candidates discussed electability, healthcare, race, gun legislation, economic issues, education, criminal justice, infectious diseases, and foreign policy. Sanders had the most speaking time at 15.5 minutes. Steyer spoke the least at 7.1 minutes.

For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.

The next Democratic primary debate will take place on Mar. 15 in Phoenix.

Ad spending crosses $1 billion mark

Ad spending in the presidential election has exceeded $1 billion, including $247 million spent in Super Tuesday states. Michael Bloomberg’s spending in the race alone has crossed $500 million, averaging $5.5 million a day since he entered the Democratic primary.

Iowa recount concludes, Buttigieg maintains SDE lead

On Thursday night, the Iowa Democratic Party announced the results of the partial recount requested by Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg led Sanders by .04% in state delegate equivalents and is projected to receive 14 pledged delegates to the national convention. Sanders is projected to receive 12, Warren 8, Biden 6, and Klobuchar 1.

The Associated Press said it would not call a winner in the race because of concerns with the accuracy of the results.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Carlos Sanchez is a Democratic staffer with Capitol Hill experience. He also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Sanchez graduated from Texas A&M International University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 2002.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, deputy national political director

Other experience:

  • 2019: Office of Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, senior advisor
  • 2017-2018: House Democratic Caucus, executive director
  • 2013-2017: Office of Rep. Joaquin Castro, chief of staff
  • 2007-2012: Office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi
    • 2011-2012: Deputy press secretary and advisor
    • 2007-2011: Press advisor
  • 2006-2007: Congressional Hispanic Caucus, communications director

What We’re Reading

Flashback: February 24-28, 2016

  • February 24, 2016: Donald Trump received his first congressional endorsements from Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).
  • February 25, 2016: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump participated in the tenth Republican primary debate in Houston, Texas.
  • February 26, 2016: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump.
  • February 27, 2016: Hillary Clinton won the South Carolina Democratic primary with 73 percent of the vote.
  • February 28, 2016: Tulsi Gabbard resigned from her position as the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Bernie Sanders.

How many candidates were running for president at this point in the 2016 election?

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