A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary
Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will not seek the presidency — ending what had become months of speculation on the Democrat’s plans.
The announcement comes five months after his son former Delaware Attorney General Joseph “Beau” Biden passed away from complications of brain cancer in May.
“As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along what I’ve said time and again to others, that it may very well be that the process by the time we get through (grieving), it closes the window,” Biden said in an announcement at the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday. “I’ve concluded it has closed.”
The 72-year-old had previously run for the presidency in 1988 and 2008, but dropped out before the South Carolina primary on both occasions. Several prominent donors and activists had urged Biden to run again for 2016 to offer a higher-profile challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A “Draft Biden” political action committee also bought advertisements that pushed for his potential campaign.
Prior to his job as vice president, Biden represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 36 years.
— Biden was not the only Democrat to announce he is no longer seeking the White House. Former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb — who had always been considered a longshot due to his conservative leanings and relative obscurity outside the Commonwealth — said Tuesday he would no longer seek the Democratic nomination. Webb made the announcement only a week after the first Democratic candidates debate.
Webb criticized what he considered a move towards “extreme” politics. “(The Democratic Party’s) hierarchy is not comfortable with many of the policies that I have laid forth,” he said. “And frankly I’m not that comfortable with many of theirs.” He did not rule out running as an independent next year.
Webb hardly campaigned during his low-key run. He made only one public campaign trip to South Carolina, attending a state party fundraiser in March.
— U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign said it will open a field office in Greenville on Thursday. Sanders himself will not attend the open-house event at at 730 South Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville, but author Jonathan Tasini will speak at 6:30 p.m. The regional office is the third Sanders’ campaign has opened in South Carolina, in addition to Columbia and Charleston. Sanders faces a challenge in South Carolina, where he fares well below his normal polling numbers against Clinton. The most recent CNN poll last week had him with just 18 percent support to Clinton’s 49 percent (although that poll also had Biden with 24 percent support).