Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Friday that Joe Biden needs to score a “substantial” win in South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary to propel his flagging campaign into the nominating contests on Super Tuesday.
“I don’t know if I can tell you how big, but it needs to be substantial,” Clyburn told CNN in an interview.
“I would like to see double digits, and not just 10 or 11. I would like to see 15 or 16,” he added. “That’s what I want to see. I have no idea, but I feel good about our chances of getting there.”
After abysmal finishes in the first three nominating states, Biden has staked the fate of his candidacy in South Carolina, where his support among the majority-black Democratic electorate has remained strong.
The former vice president’s White House bid received a much-needed boost Wednesday when Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress and a kingmaker of sorts in South Carolina Democratic politics, formally endorsed his campaign.
Recent public polling suggests Biden is still the favorite to emerge triumphant from the first-in-the-South primary. A Monmouth University survey released Thursday showed him enjoying a 20-point lead over his nearest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It is crucial that Biden achieve a similarly dominant showing when South Carolina voters head to the polls this weekend, Clyburn argued, in order to prove his staying power ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries taking place three days later.
“We’re trying to create a surge here. There’s going to be 14 states voting on next Tuesday, and we would like to see him go into those 14 states with a big vote out of South Carolina,” Clyburn said.
“It would signal to the people down in Texas that Joe Biden is, in fact, surging,” he continued. “I want to see a surge here. I’m not trying to stop anybody. I’m trying to create a surge on behalf of Joe Biden.”
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