Democratic presidential candidate, businessman Tom Steyer walks on a picket line with members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 outside the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Latest: Steyer suggests Sanders can't unify Democrats

February 24, 2020 - 10:16 am

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 Democratic primary contest (all times local):

10:10 a.m.

Democrat Tom Steyer is suggesting front-runner Bernie Sanders is unable to adequately represent or unify the entire Democratic Party.

Steyer told more than 100 people gathered at a Monday breakfast gathering on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, that he loves the diversity of the Democratic Party but that unity is the only way to defeat President Donald Trump in November.

He warned that “we can't nominate somebody who is going to divide us” and "who is not bringing all the Democrats."

Steyer joins the chorus of more moderate Democratic candidates taking on Sanders, who has had successes in the early voting states ahead of South Carolina's Saturday primary. Former Vice President Joe Biden has long topped candidates in the state, but the race has tightened in recent months, in part due to Steyer's efforts to draw black voter support that has long been Biden's stronghold.

At Monday's event, Steyer told a man in the audience that he is “more progressive than Bernie Sanders” in many areas. He said he gets along with Sanders personally and admires some of his positions but often disagrees with how to get there. Steyer says he does not favor “Medicare for All,” the single-payer, government-run health care system that's the centerpiece of Sanders' campaign.

Steyer says he doesn't want to "burn down the medical system of the United States.”

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7:51 a.m.

Billionaire Tom Steyer‘s wife is now chair of his presidential campaign.

Steyer told supporters during an event Sunday night in Yemasse, South Carolina, that his wife, Kat Taylor, had taken the helm of his campaign.

Taylor stepped down from her bank position and rented a home in Columbia, South Carolina, earlier this month to give her an East Coast base of operations as she stepped up her role her husband’s campaign.

Steyer has focused his efforts primarily on Nevada and South Carolina, which holds its primary on Saturday.

The climate activist has spent heavily in the South Carolina, building a massive ground game operation, hiring prominent lawmakers as advisers and garnering support as former Vice President Joe Biden‘s lead tightens. The field participates in a debate Tuesday night in Charleston. 

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