Dave McNeely

Dave McNeely

Joe Biden’s runaway win in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary Feb. 29 revitalized what had been a flagging campaign.

It reminded of Bill Clinton in 1992’s make-or-break New Hampshire primary. After bombing earlier in Iowa, Clinton followed aide Paul Begala’s suggestion, and declared that New Hampshire’s Democratic voters, awarding him second place, had made him “The Comeback Kid.”

Biden in South Carolina, with the crucial help of African-American U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorsing him three days before the election, got almost triple the vote of Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leader after the first three primaries,

There were questions after that stunning comeback on Saturday whether Biden could continue it three days later on Super Tuesday – March 3 – primaries in 14 states, including Texas, and American Samoa.

But, after the polls closed in South Carolina, billionaire Tom Steyer dropped out – even as his TV ads were still running in Texas.

On Sunday, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out.

On Monday, Minnesota U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar followed suit.

Both backed Biden, along with former Texas presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, at a rally Monday night in Dallas.

On Super Tuesday, Biden led in 10 of the 14 states – including Texas – and captured a 70 to 80 lead over Sanders after the 1,344 pledged delegates were figured in.

Moderate Democrats consolidated behind former President Barack Obama’s vice president, as an alternative to the self-declared Democratic Socialist.

The day after Super Tuesday, multi-billionaire Mike Bloomberg, the former longtime mayor of New York City who had spent half a billion dollars advertising his candidacy – threw in the towel.

He also endorsed Biden – and indicated he would keep spending hundreds of millions to help Biden, and down-ballot Democratic candidates for congress and state legislatures.

By Sunday, California Sen. Kamala Harris, who had folded her campaign in December, also endorsed Biden.

An African-American woman is definitely a potential running mate should Biden win.

Two-thirds of the Democrats’ pledged delegates will be chosen in the next few weeks and months.

On Tuesday, March 10, six states voted – Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.

The following Tuesday, March 17, features four – Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. On March 24 is Georgia.

This should be exciting.

# # #

Dems sue, charging GOP-created voter impediments...

The Texas Democratic Party has sued a total of four times, alleging Republicans passed laws to make it more difficult for Democratic-leaning voters to vote.

The latest suit, filed March 5 in federal court in Laredo, says Republicans doing away with straight-ticket voting “will be a disaster for Texas elections.”

The change was passed in 2017 by the Republican-dominated legislature, to take effect in 2020, with Democrats opposing it.

The Democrats said that will lengthen waiting times at polling places, and especially impact African-American and Latino voters, who lean Democratic, and tend to live in urban areas with long ballots.

Republicans argued the change would require people to cast more thoughtful votes on down-ballot races.

“Texas has recklessly created a recipe for disaster at the polls in 2020,” the Democrats’ suit charges.

It points out that in 2018 elections, about two-thirds of voters cast straight-ticket ballots, which allows voting for all candidates in a party by pressing one button or pulling one lever.

Particularly in urban areas, voters can be faced with “as many as 80 races or referendum issues,” the suit says.

“Without the option of voting straight-ticket,” the suit says, “the excessive length of Texas’ ballots creates a significant risk that voters will fail to cast votes in every down-ballot race.”

Also, with 2020 predicted to attract the highest number of votes in history, “Texas’ long polling-place lines are poised to get much worse,” the suit says.

Democrats have filed three other lawsuits in recent months charging a concerted effort by Republican officials to limit the participation of Democratic-leaning voters.

– In October, the Democrats challenged a law that does away with mobile early voting sites, by requiring that every early voting site must stay open every day of early voting.

Democrats say this punishes college students, the elderly, and people with transportation difficulties.

– In November, the Democrats sought to overturn a longtime requirement that every candidate belonging to the governor’s political party be listed first on general-election ballots.

Democrats said this gives candidates of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s party an unfair advantage.

– In January, a lawsuit seeks to ban a state rule outlawing electronic signatures on voter registration forms. That led to more than 2,400 applications being rejected days before the registration deadline for the 2018 elections.

Also, the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees election law, accepts electronic signatures in other instances.

All four lawsuits were joined by the national Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees.

McNeely is the dean of the Texas Capitol press corps. Contact McNeely at davemcneely111@gmail.com or 512/458-2963.

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