• Bloomberg


Joe Biden has a commanding lead over his 2020 Democratic rivals in South Carolina, where a majority of black voters back him, a Monmouth University Poll shows.

Biden is supported by 39 percent of likely voters in the February primary, a crucial early presidential contest. Sen. Kamala Harris is in second place with 12 percent, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 10 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 9 percent, according to Monmouth’s first poll in the state in the current cycle.

Among black voters, a group that makes up more than half of likely primary voters in South Carolina, 51 percent favor Biden, a sharp contrast to just 24 percent of white voters. The strong showing among African-Americans is especially good news for Barack Obama’s former vice president. Biden has been in damage-control mode since last month, when his comments about working alongside pro-segregation senators triggered scathing criticism from Harris, his top black competitor for the White House.

The July 18-22 survey shows Harris with the same level of support — 12 percent — among both white and black voters. Sanders also has equal backing from both groups. Only 2 percent of black voters favor Warren, compared to 21 percent of white residents.

Joe Biden endorsed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of the debate in the House over whether to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

“I think Nancy’s going about it the right way,” the former vice president said on Urban One Radio’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” adding he’s read the “important sections” of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Pelosi has been taking a go-slow approach to impeachment, fearing that a rash approach might leave Democrats defeated.

Progressive Democrats are pushing Pelosi to move toward impeachment, and Biden’s decision to side with Pelosi puts him squarely in the moderate, establishment camp that could hurt him with younger voters. Rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders support taking the action.

Mueller testified twice Wednesday to House committees and reaffirmed that his investigation didn’t exonerate Trump on obstructing justice. He added that Trump could be indicted once he leaves office. Biden on Thursday added he would support impeachment if House Democrats’ investigations were stalled by the administration.

“There’s a lot in this report and I think that if they continue to stonewall the information that is available then I think we have no choice but to file papers for impeachment.”

Biden is the only Democrat leading President Donald Trump in Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac poll out Thursday morning. Biden tops Trump 50 percent-42 percent, while every other Democrat polled is effectively tied with the president.

Ohio is a key swing state on the 2020 electoral map. Former President Barack Obama narrowly won here in 2012, then Trump eased through in 2016, part of his near-sweep of Midwest swing states that propelled him to the White House.

In the state’s March 17 Democratic primary, former Vice President Biden leads the field again. There he’s at 31 percent to 14 percent each for Sens. Harris and Sanders, with Warren at 13 percent.

The poll has very bad news for native son Tim Ryan, a U.S. representative from northeast Ohio who’s stressed his blue-collar credentials and ability to play in the Midwest. He’s polling just 1 percent in his own state.

The 2020 Democratic field continues its quest to lock down black voter support Thursday and Friday as candidates move from the NAACP convention to the National Urban League gathering in Indianapolis.

Joe Biden and Cory Booker are among those speaking Thursday at the Urban League convention, potentially putting them on a collision course for another round over their records on criminal justice before next week’s Democratic debate in Detroit.

The two men have been sparring this week after Biden on Tuesday released proposals that would roll back measures in the 1994 crime bill — which he authored as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee — that contributed to longer prison sentences for black convicts.

Booker complained Tuesday that “the proud architect of a failed system is not the right person to fix it.” Biden swung back Wednesday, telling reporters that while Booker was mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, “his police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African-American men.”

Biden’s campaign followed that with a pre-emptive strike on Booker’s potential debate attacks, offering up some “hard questions” about Booker’s record. “Next week’s debate should focus on how we can fix the system — not on Booker’s specious charges about Biden,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

President Trump’s re-election effort lost no time in seizing on Mueller’s long-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill. The Trump Make America Great Committee sent out an email even as Mueller was testifying that called on the president’s supporters to help raise $2 million in 24 hours. It asked for contributions to “send a powerful message to the entire nation that this WITCH HUNT must end.” The email, purportedly signed by the president, asked: “How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop?”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is mounting a long-shot effort to wrest the 2020 Republican nomination from Trump, said the GOP could soon be seen as “the party of racism.” Speaking at the NAACP convention in Detroit, Weld called on the GOP to reject “the racism of Donald Trump” or risk becoming “universally viewed as the party of racism in America.” Trump has overwhelming support among Republican voters and is likely to coast to renomination. In an average of polls by RealClearPolitics, the president beats Weld by about 72 percentage points.

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