Mar 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden’s sudden, shocking surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Leading Democrats suddenly see their primary as a clear, two-person race — with Mike Bloomberg as the likely odd man out.

Why it matters: The Biden team feels like "a clear choice" is emerging between him and Bernie Sanders, a campaign aide told Axios' Alexi McCammond.

The state of play: South Carolina was a wake-up call for the establishment, Axios' Margaret Talev emails.

  • The Rep. Clyburn surge (tons of voters told exit pollsters his endorsement affected their vote) shows endorsements still matter. Terry McAuliffe follows.
  • President Obama let it be known he called Biden, even if he won't endorse yet.
  • Harry Reid jumps on the train.
  • Pete Buttigieg wants a future so he drops out and will endorse Biden early enough to not get blamed if Sanders runs away with it.
  • Amy Klobuchar may lose Minnesota anyway plus could be a good VP choice if Biden survives, so she endorses too.

Bloomberg, campaigning in Virginia, addressed the Buttigieg/Klobuchar endorsements:

  • “I thought both of them behaved themselves, is a nice way to phrase it, but they represented their country and their states very well. ... And I felt sorry for them, but I’m in it to win it.”

Flashback: The nascent Never Trump movement split votes well past Super Tuesday in 2016, with Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio hanging on in hopes of winning their states.

  • That denied Sen. Ted Cruz or another candidate a chance to unify the non-Trump vote.

The bottom line: The non-Bernie/Warren wing of the field is coalescing around Biden before Super Tuesday, rather than when it's too late.

Go deeper: Biden racks up endorsements one day before Super Tuesday

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Pete Buttigieg endorsed Joe Biden

Photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg endorsed Joe Biden in Dallas Monday night, further narrowing the Democratic field's group of moderates in the former vice president's favor.

The state of play: The two spoke on the phone Sunday evening after the former South Bend mayor announced his departure from the race. With Amy Klobuchar also dropping out and planning to endorse Biden at Monday's rally in Dallas, the race is now down to four major candidates — Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden reborn with a massive Super Tuesday comeback

Biden speaks in Los Angeles Tuesday night. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Super Tuesday made Joe Biden the 77-year-old Comeback Kid, clipping Bernie Sanders' wings and transforming the Democratic primary into a two-man race.

Why it matters: Biden's campaign was broke and all but dead until he won South Carolina on Saturday. The revival that unfolded across 14 states last night was built not only on strong support from African Americans but also a consolidation of white, establishment Democrats around the former vice president.

Joe Biden projected to win Virginia Democratic primary

Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the Virginia Democratic primary with 99 delegates at stake, according to multiple media projections.

Why it matters: Polling throughout February showed a close race between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, but Biden saw a late surge after moderates Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar dropped out and endorsed him on Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy