South Carolina voters cast their ballots today for the Democrat primary. Polls opened at 7 AM EST, and will close at 7 PM.
Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg is not on the South Carolina primary ballot; any votes he receives will be via write-in. The people on the ballot include former Vice President Joe Biden; Senators Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren; South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
The Republican party of South Carolina cancelled its primary, throwing their unconditional support to President Trump. President Trump, in turn, has urged his supporters to take advantage of the Democrats’ open primary format and cross over to vote for Bernie Sanders.
The majority of the state’s Democrat voters are black, and Steyer’s efforts to ingratiate himself with black Democrats have been reaping rewards. Polls show that he has been eating into Biden’s strong lead in that demographic, even as successful showings in early states by Buttigieg and Klobuchar failed to provide much momentum with black voters in the Nevada caucuses.
Biden has risen in the polls over the last week, following a dip in the preceding weeks, and is currently expected to win unless Trump’s exhortations of his followers is enough to pull Bernie over the finish line. Even if Sanders does win, if the reason is shown to be because of GOP votes, his success may be somewhat pyrrhic as it will greatly damage his case should a split delegate count lead to a brokered convention. If he fares very poorly in the vote count, it will be a damning result.
The result will be most useful in providing momentum into the Super Tuesday primaries, where significant national attention to the early states has provided Sanders with an image of strength and front-runner status. A loss by Biden will damage the much-needed perception of viability going into Tuesday’s voting. Anything outside of an outsized success by Klobuchar or Buttigieg will risk sapping their campaigns of any energy remaining from Iowa and New Hampshire.
CBS News will be featuring live coverage of the primary starting at 6 PM Eastern.
Global News has a live feed set up on Youtube:
This thread will be updated with the election results, but the numbers will be slow to initially update because I’ll be out for part of the night. Please feel encouraged to post updates, analysis and information in the comment section below.
UPDATE 1: With about 90% of precincts reporting, the Biden victory isn’t simply confirmed, it is decisive and looks even stronger when one considers the push Sanders received from crossover Republicans at the behest of Trump. Buttigieg fared poorly, but he was expected to; as has been mentioned before, if he is the eventual nominee most of the Southern states will be guaranteed losses. The reason this does not much matter is that nearly all of them save Georgia are virtual locks for any Republican, anyway. He needs to overperform on Super Tuesday, though. Steyer has wisely dropped out. Klobuchar has not, but will be under mounting pressure to do so after being unable to replicate her spike in New Hampshire. Warren has not, and seems to be holding on mainly in hope that the revelations on Sanders knock him out and leave her as the only true hard left candidate with name recognition. Oh, and Tulsi Gabbard still exists, technically.
UPDATE 2: Final results are in. Mayor Pete got a little bump toward the end, pushing him up .2% at the expense of Joe Biden, but Biden still walked away with it. Buttigieg is meeting with Jimmy Carter today and is publicly considering whether to remain in the race. Amy Klobuchar is being pressured to drop out from various sources. Super Tuesday is coming in just three days.
Joe Biden: 255,660 votes, 48.4%
Bernie Sanders: 105.068 votes, 19.9%
Tom Steyer: 59,817 votes, 11.3%
Pete Buttigieg: 43,483 votes, 8.2%
Elizabeth Warren: 37,285 votes, 7.1%
Amy Klobuchar: 16,601 votes, 3.1%
Tulsi Gabbard: 6,749 votes, 1.3%