Guess who is in the number two spot in the Real Clear Politics averaging of polls right now in South Carolina? Tom Steyer. Who saw that one coming?
There hasn’t been much recent polling done and the primary election is still 17 days away but it is an interesting turn of events. Joe Biden is depending on South Carolina to rescue his hopes of being a contender for the Democrat nomination – he bailed on his New Hampshire campaign staff before that state’s voting ended Tuesday. Biden headed straight to South Carolina, not Nevada, the next state to vote, and held a campaign event there Tuesday night.
Tom Steyer is a candidate who is easy to forget about until he shows up on a debate stage. He’s been a one-trick pony about impeachment almost since President Trump was inaugurated into office, with a side issue of climate change. With impeachment behind us – at least until House Democrats decide to launch a fresh effort – he’s down to climate change. How did that work out for Jay Inslee?
I often get asked what I am — a moderate or a progressive. While there may be policy differences within the Dem Party, those only matters if we win — and we HAVE to win.
Let me be clear, I’m a PROGRESSIVE. I support a Green New Deal, reparations, and want to see term limits!
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) February 11, 2020
The national average in RCP polling has Steyer at only 1.8%. So, to see him in second place behind Biden in South Carolina is a surprise. It looks like all the effort the candidate and his campaign have been putting into the state is paying off. The Steyer campaign is doubling down now and Steyer’s wife, Kat Taylor, has moved to Columbia, South Carolina. The campaign is making South Carolina the base of operations for the East Coast.
Kat Taylor is renting a home in the state’s capital city and moved in over the weekend, the California billionaire’s campaign told The Associated Press on Tuesday. She looks to become more involved in campaigning efforts there and have a base of operations on the East Coast.
“I’ve always been in support of my husband, because of that I came to Columbia to show my full support,” Taylor said in a statement. She said it’s important to her to let people know that the couple stands for “providing clean air and clean water, access to affordable healthcare, job creation, affordable housing, and investing in the future of our youth.”
Taylor has stepped down from her day job – CEO of Beneficial State Bank – and has joined the campaign to plan strategy and campaign for Steyer in South Carolina, as well as in Super Tuesday states. Tom Steyer was the only Democrat candidate in South Carolina Sunday and Monday, as the others were in New Hampshire. Tuesday he was in Nevada. Steyer is going for Joe Biden’s biggest constituency – black voters.
Steyer has held more campaign events in South Carolina than any of the other candidates. He’s flooding the airwaves with ads and building a staff. The news Wednesday is that Steyer has hired one of the state’s most influential black lawmakers as an adviser to his campaign. State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House and the current president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, is a senior national adviser. She has a history of not endorsing candidates in the primary but she is singing the praises of Steyer now.
Cobb-Hunter has made a point in the past to note that she chooses not to endorse candidates during primaries. In an announcement of her hire, Cobb-Hunter said climate activist Steyer had the broadest appeal to voters across the country.
“Steyer is building the most racially diverse coalition of voters who look like America as it is today,” Cobb-Hunter said. “He is the only candidate who walks the walk and talks the talk.”
The move is part of Steyer’s effort to build among black leaders in South Carolina, where rivals Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders already have gained the support of members of the legislative black caucus.
Steyer already had the support of Jerry Govan, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. Both Govan and Cobb-Hunter represent parts of Orangeburg County, home to two HBCUs. Steyer is counting on doing well in Nevada and South Carolina, the first two states where non-white voters have a prominent influence. Two-thirds of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina are black voters.
In today’s RCP poll averaging, Steyer is fourth in Nevada, behind Biden, Sanders, and Warren, and ahead of Buttigieg. His campaign is no doubt watching as Biden’s support among black voters continues to drop. Steyer placed sixth in New Hampshire ahead of Yang, who dropped out. When asked if he planned to drop out, too, Steyer said no, he’s not going anywhere. We’ll see. He certainly has the financial resources to stay as long as he wants.
I’ll end with this video showing another political wife, Jill Biden, playing the part of bouncer at an event with good old Joe Tuesday. Check it out: