South Carolina might have become to be known as Joe Biden’s firewall in the Democratic primary, but billionaire Tom Steyer is pushing his way up the polls by spending $14 million in TV and radio ads, according to Politico.
“The unemployment rate in South Carolina has probably dropped an entire percentage point thanks to the Tom Steyer campaign,” South Carolina Democratic strategist Tyler Jones told Politico. “Every YouTube video that comes on in South Carolina has a Tom Steyer ad in front of it. And he says things that every Democrat agrees with.”
Biden does have a commanding 12.5 percentage point edge on No. 2, Steyer in South Carolina, according to the RealClear Politics polling average‘s top five:
- Biden 31.0.
- Steyer 18.5.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 17.0.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 9.5.
- Pete Buttigieg 5.5.
But it is notable Steyer has rising support in a Biden-heavy state after both candidates were disappointing in the Iowa caucuses last week.
“I just don’t know if the support is real,” Jones told Politico of Steyer’s rise. “At the end of the day are black voters going to vote for someone who got 0% in Iowa? Until Joe Biden gives them a reason to leave, they’re not going to leave.”
Steyer’s money has bought him life in the South Carolina primary, which will be held Feb. 29, and African Americans are expected to cast more than half of the primary vote, according to the report.
“Black voters see Democrats as that party that puts a candidate forth and says they should vote for them,” The Minority Eye publisher Michael Bailey told Politico, amid receiving $27,735 in print ads from Steyer, according to his latest campaign finance report. “Steyer is having a different conversation with black and minority media. It’s not that Joe Biden or any other candidate is bad, they just didn’t think that way.”
Steyer’s performance in South Carolina will be pivotal, so much so he talked about the state in the debate leading up the New Hampshire primary, per the report.
“A few months back, he wouldn’t have even been on the radar,” South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus and Steyer endorser Johnnie Cordero told Politico. “Now people are talking about him. And it’s not, ‘this white guy spending all this money.’ It’s what he thinks and who he talks to.”
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