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Thursday April 9th, 2020 6:37AM

The Latest: Biden planning a South Carolina 'launch' party

By The Associated Press
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 Democratic presidential contest and the New Hampshire primary (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

As votes are counted in New Hampshire, former Vice President Joe Biden is shifting ahead to South Carolina, where success is critical to his campaign.

Biden's Democratic presidential campaign says he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel to Columbia on Tuesday night for a “launch” party. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond is Biden's campaign co-chairman and had already been planning to attend the event.

The campaign says Biden will address supporters in New Hampshire via livestream while his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will thank them in person.

Biden has a lot at stake in South Carolina, where he has led polling and has long relationships with the heavily black electorate. But other candidates including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer have been campaigning hard in the state.

Biden says in a release he plans to travel later in the week to Nevada, which holds its caucus vote later this month.

___

9:40 a.m.

Elizabeth Warren says anyone looking for contrasts between her and fellow progressive Bernie Sanders can find them.

The Massachusetts senator is stopping at polling stations across New Hampshire on Tuesday to greet people voting in the state’s primary. Asked if she’d done enough to differentiate herself from Sanders, Warren said there were key differences that were obvious to voters.

Warren says she doesn't want to denigrate Sanders but says she has a deep political record of accomplishments, including helping to create a federal agency to protect consumers during the Obama administration. Both Warren and Sanders have been careful not to criticize each other harshly for months as they compete in the Democratic presidential primary.

Near a polling station at Portsmouth Middle School, Warren handed out doughnuts to supporters and spoke to a man on a bike, even using his cellphone to urge his daughter to vote.

Asked if she had any advice for those heading to the polls, Warren quipped “vote for me.”

___

9:25 a.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has visited two polling places in New Hampshire’s largest city on primary day. She's savoring what she calls her “landslide” win in two tiny northern communities that voted just after midnight.

Klobuchar said in Manchester on Tuesday she was “feeling good" and had “just met a lot of people” who voted for her. She says she feels good about "those early results in those gigantic voting locations up there.”

Klobuchar won the Democratic primary in Hart’s Location with six votes and in Millsfield with two. But former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won Dixville Notch with two write-in votes.

Klobuchar says Bloomberg “needs to be on the debate stage” and then she can be on equal footing with him. She says she's “never going to beat” the billionaire on the airwaves but "can beat him on the debate stage.”

___

9 a.m.

Pete Buttigieg says he's feeling “very good” about his prospects in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is riding a wave as a centrist front-runner following last week's Iowa caucuses. He essentially tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described democratic socialist.

Buttigieg concedes that he's up against “some neighborhood competition” in Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. But he says he has good momentum and he's “going to have a great show.”

Asked about his struggle for support among African Americans, Buttigieg told MSNBC's “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, “No one is feeling the pain of living in this administration” more than voters of color. Buttigieg says he's reaching out to voters of color. He says he believes many of them “are taking a second look at candidates" now that the field has been whittled down from more than 20.

Buttigieg says he still has to pinch himself about his performance as just one of those presidential hopefuls. He says just a year and a half ago he was driving his Chevy to work.

___

8:45 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is portraying himself as “an underdog” in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

The former vice president noted on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won New Hampshire by 20 percentage points in 2016 and has a next-door neighbor advantage and “real enthusiasm going" for him. But Biden says Sanders' label as a democratic socialist will not be helpful in the South and other places.

Biden says “I think I'm an underdog here” in New Hampshire but he still feels “good” and is in the race for the “long haul."

Biden says their party's 2020 presidential nominee will need significant support from African Americans as well as keeping “working-class white folks,” two areas Biden sees as his strength. Biden says “if you can't win in Pennsylvania, if you can't help win Senate seats in North Carolina and Georgia, then it's going to be awful hard” to beat President Donald Trump.

Biden also took a swipe at billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg for the hundreds of millions of dollars he says they've spent on TV advertising. Biden says he's looking forward to debating Bloomberg because he can't compete with Bloomberg's money.

Asked about polling suggesting Bloomberg is cutting into Biden's support among moderate Americans, Biden says, “It's amazing what $500 million can do.”

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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