Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: February 29-March 6, 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

“But inside the Democratic Party there is a debate not unlike the one that divides the two main parties about the breadth of change that Washington should pursue. The Democrats’ moderate wing, which is now anchored by older black voters in the south, remains deeply skeptical of Sanders-style socialism, while the New New left, powered by young radicals in big cities, is repelled by the incrementalism of Biden.

This divide between Sanders’s and Biden’s bases might not be easily bridgeable, and if a clear delegate winner fails to emerge, the party’s convention in Milwaukee could be as messy as anything since 1968, when supporters of anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy took to the streets to protest the establishment-led victory of vice president Hubert Humphrey. How the eventual nominee wins the nod, and how he (or she) handles the inevitable bruised feelings in the other camp, will matter more this year than it has in decades.”

– Ryan Lizza, chief Washington correspondent for Politico 

“Biden’s rise is owed first and foremost to an overwhelming wave of support from black voters — bigger even than some early polls in this race suggested it might be.

Biden parlayed House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) endorsement into a bigger-than-expected win Saturday in South Carolina, where black voters were 57 percent of the electorate and favored Biden 4 to 1 over Sanders. Then black voters essentially delivered Biden a big sweep of the South on Tuesday. They delivered a large chunk of the vote, and they went for Biden 57 percent to 17 percent. Perhaps most significant, they gave Biden Texas, where 6 in 10 black voters supported him and provided his narrow win. …

There is a narrative about how the Democratic establishment has come to Biden’s rescue. What really happened is that African Americans did.”

– Aaron BlakeThe Washington Post

Week in Review

Biden wins 10 Super Tuesday primaries, Sanders wins four

Fourteen states and American Samoa held primary events for the presidential nomination on Super Tuesday. Here are the results:

  • Donald Trump won in all 13 states holding Republican primaries on Super Tuesday.
  • Joe Biden won ten Democratic primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. He is projected to receive at least 584 pledged delegates.
  • Bernie Sanders won four Democratic primaries in California, Colorado, Utah, and Vermont. He is projected to receive at least 503 pledged delegates.
  • Michael Bloomberg won the Democratic caucus in American Samoa.

The following chart shows the pledged delegate allocation over time so far.

The map below shows the winners of the Democratic primaries held on Super Tuesday.

Bidens wins all 46 counties in South Carolina Democratic primary

Joe Biden headed into Super Tuesday with momentum after winning the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary on Saturday. Biden won the popular vote in all 46 counties in South Carolina and 39 of the state’s 54 pledged delegates.

Bernie Sanders, the second-place finisher with 20% of the vote, received 15 pledged delegates.

Democratic presidential field drops from 8 to 3 candidates

Five candidates left the Democratic presidential primary following the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries.

Tom Steyer ended his presidential campaign on Saturday after placing third in the South Carolina Democratic primary. He said in a speech to supporters, “I said if I didn’t see a path to winning, that I’d suspend my campaign. And honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency.”

Pete Buttigieg ended his presidential campaign on Sunday night. He said, “We have a responsibility to concede the effect of remaining in this race any further. Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values.” He endorsed Joe Biden on Monday.

Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign on Monday and endorsed Biden. She is campaigning for him over the weekend in Detroit, Southfield, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Following Super Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign and also endorsed Biden. He said in a statement, “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”

Elizabeth Warren ended her presidential campaign on Thursday. She declined to endorse another candidate.

Trump and RNC raise $86 million, Weld says he will continue in race

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee jointly raised $86 million in February. Trump held a campaign rally in North Carolina on Monday and spoke at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on Wednesday.

Trump spoke at his first televised town hall of the 2020 election cycle in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. The event was hosted by Fox News.

In an interview with ReasonBill Weld said he would remain in the race after Super Tuesday. “Steve Bannon said that if the president loses four percent of the traditional Republican vote, he cannot be re-elected. If that’s true, that’s a marker I can meet,” Weld said.

The next Democratic primary debate on March 15

CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper and Univision’s Jorge Ramos will moderate the eleventh Democratic primary debate on March 15 in Phoenix. Debate qualifications have not yet been released, but the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is expected to raise the delegate threshold.

“We have two more debates—of course the threshold will go up. By the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

René Spellman is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communications and organizational management. Spellman graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science and human biology. She previously worked on Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, national director of surrogates, traveling press, and press logistics
  • 2016 Jim Barksdale (D-Ga.) U.S. Senate campaign, campaign manager
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, senior advisor for youth
  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, youth vote director

Other experience:

  • 2018-present: People For the American Way, board member
  • 2017-2019: Creative Artists Agency, executive
  • 2014: Mtheory LLC, vice president of local marketing
  • 2012-2014: MWWPR, vice president of entertainment and corporate communications
  • 2009-2012: Political appointee
    • The White House Council for Community Solutions, advisor and deputy to the executive director
    • Corporation for National and Community Service
    • U.S. Department of Education
    • Presidential Inaugural Committee, ticketing and credentials
  • 2006-2007: National Music Business Association for Students, founding director of marketing

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 2-6, 2016

  • March 2, 2016: Hillary Clinton announced she had raised $30 million in February 2016.
  • March 3, 2016: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump participated in the eleventh Republican presidential primary debate in Detroit.
  • March 4, 2016: Donald Trump canceled his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • March 5, 2016: Bernie Sanders won primaries in Kansas and Nebraska, and Hillary Clinton won in Louisiana. In the Republican primary, Donald Trump won Kentucky and Louisiana and Ted Cruz won Kansas and Maine.
  • March 6, 2016: Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico’s Republican primary.

Which winning presidential candidate received the smallest share of the popular vote?

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