Elections 2020FederalJoe Biden Notches Decisive South Carolina Victory Ahead of Super Tuesday

The South Carolina victory breathes new life into Biden's campaign ahead of Super Tuesday and the Texas primary.
March 1, 2020
As is seemingly commonplace in the never-ceasing horserace coverage that envelopes presidential campaigns, some pundits had already claimed to hear singing from the proverbial fat lady — supposedly spelling doom and gloom for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential hopes.

But that “flavor of the moment”-punditry was stopped dead in its tracks yet again on a Leap Day Saturday in South Carolina. Biden resoundingly won the South Carolina primary, pulling in nearly 50 percent of the votes.

The next-closest candidate finished with far less than half the support Biden received — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at 19.9 percent.

Billionaire Tom Steyer — who dropped out of the race last night after spending $14 million on TV ads in the Palmetto State — followed at 11.3 percent.

Sanders had widely been considered to be running away with the Democratic primary contest — having finished essentially tied for first in Iowa and winning both New Hampshire and Nevada.

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But Biden, after his resounding victory in South Carolina, is clearly still a viable contender for the nomination. However, that could quickly change with Super Tuesday only a few days away.

A key factor that could play out going forward is the superdelegate system the Democrat Party uses.

To win the nomination outright, a candidate must secure at least 1,990 of the 3,979 total delegates in circulation.

If that doesn’t happen, the superdelegates (comprised of Democrat elected officials and party leaders from across the country) are free to throw their weighted support behind any of the candidates during the second round of voting — which many believe would be to Biden’s benefit.

In all, 34 percent (1,344 delegates) of the available Democratic delegates are up for grabs on Tuesday as 15 states or territories (American Samoa) will hold their primaries. Texas, of course, is one of those states and is the second-highest prize behind California with 228 pledged delegates to dole out.

Those delegates are broken out into two categories:

  • 149 pledged delegates are divvied up based on results in each of the Lone Star State’s 31 state Senate districts. A candidate must receive at least 15 percent of the district vote to receive delegates in this category.
  • 79 pledged delegates are awarded based on the overall results of the statewide vote. A candidate must receive at least 15 percent of the statewide vote to receive delegates in this category.

Recent polling (conducted before the Biden win in South Carolina), indicates Sanders holds around a 10-point lead with Biden and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg jockeying for second place.

Total Pledged Delegates Count as of March 1, 2020

  • Sanders: 57
  • Biden: 51
  • Buttigieg: 26
  • Warren: 8
  • Klobuchar: 7

Check the latest edition of The Back Mic for a list of Texas legislators who have endorsed presidential candidates.

For more information on other big races in store for Tuesday, check out The Texan’s War Room.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.