As the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina nears, progressive candidate Bernie Sanders boasted of previous victories in the intra-party races in New Hampshire and Nevada, while taking aim at centrist rival Joe Biden.
The back-to-back wins in the two states and what he claimed was a “popular vote” victory in the Iowa caucuses made the Democratic establishment “nervous”, Xinhua news agency quoted the Vermont Senator as saying while addressing supporters in Wofford College, a liberal arts school in South Carolina’s Upcountry.
“The establishment sees turnouts like this… You’re making them very nervous,” he added.
The 78-year-old in his speech also took a direct aim at Biden, saying that the former Vice President could not beat incumbent President Donald Trump because “he voted for the Iraq war” and “supported terrible trade agreements that cost us millions of jobs”.
The South Carolina primary is scheduled for Saturday.
After finishing previous nominating contests disappointingly, Biden is counting on a win in South Carolina to shore up momentum.
He has been on top of recent state polls and won what could be a crucial endorsement from House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest-ranking Africa-American member of Congress and one of the most influential Democrats in South Carolina.
“I will win South Carolina,” Biden declared at the Democratic presidential debate in Charleston on Tuesday when asked whether he would drop out of the race if he does not win the primary in the state.
Sanders lost to former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses in delegate vote counts by a razor-thin edge of 12 to 13.
The veteran politician however, recently has seen his popularity surge nationally, and state polls show he is leading in California, Colorado and Wisconsin — in all of which he holds double-digit advantage.
In addition to Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg, the others Democrats competing in the South Carolina primary include Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic nomination but will skip the contest in South Carolina.