Live Updates as Super Tuesday Approaches

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

After three consecutive contests in which she won no delegates, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is trying to make a case for her ability to come back on Super Tuesday.

“Since Elizabeth’s historic debate performance in Nevada, we’ve seen an incredible burst of momentum and outpouring of grass-roots support,” Ms. Warren’s campaign manager, Roger Lau, wrote in a memo to supporters on Sunday. “We expect Elizabeth to have a strong delegate performance on Super Tuesday, and see the race narrowing considerably once all the votes are counted.”

Mr. Lau said the campaign had raised more than $29 million in February, which was more in one month than Ms. Warren had previously raised in any three-month period. That included donations from 250,000 first-time donors.

The campaign’s internal projections, he added, showed Ms. Warren winning delegates “in nearly every state” on Super Tuesday.

“We believe that Super Tuesday will greatly winnow this field, and it will become clear that only a few candidates will have a viable path to the Democratic nomination, and Elizabeth Warren will be one of them,” he wrote.

But his memo also said the campaign expected Super Tuesday to result in a situation where no candidate had a path to an outright majority of delegates.

“Our grass-roots campaign is built to compete in every state and territory and ultimately prevail at the national convention in Milwaukee,” Mr. Lau said, hinting at the possibility — or, in the campaign’s view, the likelihood — of a contested convention.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning that he had raised $18 million in February, and $5 million last night alone.

“I think we’ve got a long way to go, but this was a big boost for us,” he said, smiling, when Jake Tapper asked whether he now considered himself the front-runner. “We’re in a situation where we’re just beginning to raise the kind of money that we thought we would be able to raise on the front end.”

His fund-raising total for February is not particularly impressive: Elizabeth Warren raised more than $29 million, and Bernie Sanders raised an enormous $46.5 million. But $5 million in one night is impressive, and it provides some evidence for Mr. Biden’s argument that his victory in South Carolina can revive his campaign.

Many Democratic officials have been urging lower-performing candidates to end their campaigns in the interest of consolidating support around one progressive and one moderate. But when asked if his moderate opponents should drop out to strengthen him against Bernie Sanders on the left, Mr. Biden demurred.

“I’m not going to presume to tell anyone they should drop out,” he said. “I think everyone knows it’s going to be much more difficult to win back the Senate and the House if Bernie is at the top of the ticket, but that’s a judgment for them to make.”

Mr. Biden hammered that electability argument throughout the interview, rejecting the idea that the enthusiasm Mr. Sanders generates would carry Democrats to victory in November.

“The idea that there’s a direct correlation between the number of people at a rally and the number of people who turn out — we had the largest turnout in South Carolina, and we won every single solitary county,” he said.

He argued that he, not Mr. Sanders, would be best for down-ballot candidates in states like Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina where Democrats are hoping to flip Senate seats, and also that he would be better able to enact his campaign promises.

“People aren’t looking for a revolution, in my view — what they’re looking for is results,” he said. “They’re looking for getting things done, and Bernie does not have a very good track record of getting things done in the United States Congress.”

President Trump, seeking to sow seeds of division and chaos among the Democrats, unleashed a fresh series of Twitter taunts overnight.

He suggested that Democrats were plotting against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was still leading in the delegate count even after his distant second-place finish in South Carolina, but faces a rejuvenated foe in former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Trump has been trying to exploit the perceived insecurities of Mr. Sanders and his supporters, who are still smarting over the outcome of the party’s nominating contest against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“Democrats are working hard to destroy the name and reputation of Crazy Bernie Sanders, and take the nomination away from him!” Mr. Trump said.

On a night when Mr. Biden tried to project renewed enthusiasm for candidacy and a moderate alternative to Mr. Sanders, Mr. Trump mockingly offered his congratulations to “sleepy Joe Biden.”

Mr. Trump also took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer, who announced on Saturday night that he was exiting the race after finishing third in South Carolina.

Mr. Steyer had saturated the airwaves in South Carolina with a $22 million advertising blitz — or about $33 per each of the 59,815 votes he received. He mustered 11.3 percent of the vote, failing to meet the 15 percent minimum to be allotted delegates under the state’s primary system.

Mr. Trump referred to Mr. Steyer and Mr. Bloomberg as “failed presidential candidates” and said he would find it hard to believe that they would contribute to the Democratic Party after the “real politicians ate them up and spit them out!”

In another tweet Sunday morning, Mr. Trump attacked Mr. Bloomberg and said that Mr. Bloomberg’s political consultants were propping him up when they knew that he was not a viable candidate.

Credit…Matt Rourke/Associated Press

PLAINS, Ga. — Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., came here Sunday morning for a breakfast with former President Jimmy Carter, who asked him the question many in Democratic politics are thinking as Super Tuesday approaches.

“He doesn’t know what he’s going to do after South Carolina,” Mr. Carter said as he sat at a sun-splashed table inside the Buffalo Cafe with his wife, Rosalynn, and Mr. Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten.

Mr. Buttigieg, who placed fourth in South Carolina’s Saturday primary, quickly changed the subject to a visit that the Carters made to South Bend in 2018.

“We so enjoyed having the Carters in South Bend,” he said. “You have a standing welcome any time you want to come back to northern Indiana.”

Mrs. Carter then asked Mr. Buttigieg about a butterfly garden she visited in South Bend.

“Our last conversation was about milkweed,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We’re doing our best about staying true to your suggestions about planting more milkweed.”

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised $46.5 million in February, smashing the already-impressive $25 million mark he set in January.

The total came from more than 2.2 million donations, including more than 350,000 first-time donors. More than half of the donations — 1.4 million — were from states that will vote two days from now on Super Tuesday.

“The senator’s multigenerational, multiracial working-class coalition keeps fueling his campaign for transformational change a few bucks at a time,” Mr. Sanders’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement on Sunday.

The campaign is spending some of that money on television ads in nine states that will vote on March 10 and March 17, including Arizona, Michigan, Florida and Ohio.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Saturday was a sobering day for former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who finished fourth and received no delegates in South Carolina after an all-out effort to prove that he could win over black voters there.

Tom Steyer, who outperformed him by more than 16,000 votes, ended his campaign in response. But in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, Mr. Buttigieg said he would not.

“Every day we are in this campaign is a day that we have reached the conclusion that pushing forward is the best thing we can do for the country and for the party,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

Asked whether a poor showing on Super Tuesday, which will account for about a third of all delegates, would change his thinking, Mr. Buttigieg said it might.

“Every single day, we do a lot of math on this campaign,” he said. “So we’ll be assessing at every turn not only what the right answer is for the campaign, but making sure that every step we take is in the interest of the party and that goal of making sure we defeat Donald Trump, because our country can’t take four more years of this.”

He added that he was “humbled by the challenge” of earning black voters’ support.

“There is no question that the vice president had a commanding lead with the black voters in South Carolina,” he said, acknowledging former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s overwhelming victory yesterday. “And that bar of earning the trust of voters of color right now, that bar is high for a reason.”

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Within one minute of the polls closing on Saturday, all the major networks called South Carolina for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and it was a landslide.

Mr. Biden carried nearly half the vote and every county in the state — as resounding a win, if not more so, as the one Senator Bernie Sanders scored in Nevada a week earlier.

Here are some of the things we learned from the South Carolina primary:

Mr. Biden can now claim to be the stop-Sanders candidate. He consolidated support among African-American voters in South Carolina, carrying more than 60 percent, which propelled him to an easy win. The question going forward is whether that depth of support will prove isolated to South Carolina, where Mr. Biden had deep roots.

Mr. Sanders could still score big on Super Tuesday. A problem for Mr. Sanders is that the South Carolina results punctured his campaign’s hope that black voters might split strongly along generational lines. But, as Sanders advisers have been quick to point out, the demographics of Super Tuesday primaries look different than in 2016.

— Other candidates swung and missed with black voters. For all the strategy memos that the campaigns have been publishing, the verdict of black voters in South Carolina was deeply damaging for Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. While Mr. Sanders struggled on Saturday, he at least showed some traction.

Tom Steyer’s campaign showed the limits of money. Mr. Steyer, the billionaire investor, poured nearly $200 million into television and digital advertising, according to the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics.

He won zero delegates and dropped out last night.

For more on the campaign going forward:


Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

For the first time in the 2020 campaign, Joseph R. Biden Jr. wakes up Sunday as a winner. His victory in South Carolina is already giving new life to his candidacy, drawing in some valuable endorsements and stirring talk among Democratic leaders that other presidential candidates should make way for the former vice president.

If Mr. Biden can convert that winner’s glow into votes on Super Tuesday — just 48 hours from now — it could reshape the Democratic race.

But that is a big, big “if.” There is little time for Mr. Biden to take advantage of any late momentum, especially in big states like California and Texas, where many hundreds of thousands of ballots have already been cast in early voting. Mr. Biden may struggle to spend any money he raises at the last minute in a constructive way, and he has been heavily outspent and out-organized across the 15 states and territories that vote on March 3. The former vice president, who entered the race as the leading candidate about 10 months ago, still looks like an underdog against Bernie Sanders.

Yet Mr. Biden’s win is a challenge to the rest of the Democratic field, too, and especially to the moderates who have been vying with Mr. Biden to become the favorite candidate of the center-left — candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Michael R. Bloomberg, all of whom have been counting on Mr. Biden to collapse in order to open their own paths to the nomination.

Mr. Biden struck an aggressive posture toward Mr. Sanders on Saturday night; his conduct in the next couple days will reveal much about how he intends to fight the next phase of this campaign, and how he plans to approach Mr. Sanders as he seeks to halt his march to a strong plurality in the delegate count.

The former vice president did not mention Mr. Sanders by name in his sharply worded speech on Saturday, but will he go further in the coming days? And if Mr. Biden continues to mount a sustained attack on Mr. Sanders, how will the progressive front-runner respond?

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