COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 29: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at his primary night event at the University of South Carolina on February 29, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. Biden is the projected winner of South Carolina, the first-in-the-south primary and the fourth state in the presidential nominating process. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
What Biden's win could mean for Super Tuesday votes
02:22 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Hours after his major victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, former Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that his campaign raised $5 million online within 24 hours. The figure is the biggest online fundraising day to date for the campaign, according to a Biden official.

Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday that the campaign raised upwards of $17 million for the month of February.

“We’ve raised about $17, $18 million this month – $5 million just since the victory or during the victory in South Carolina so we’re feeling good, but it’s a long way to go, Jake,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden’s main Democratic rival in the nomination fight, announced Sunday that his campaign raised a massive $46.5 million in February.

Biden’s win in South Carolina represents a significant victory for the former vice president’s campaign, which has struggled to gain nationwide traction during the past year and was thought to be on a decline following losses in the race’s first three Democratic contests. It also positions him as the surging moderate alternative to Sanders in the lead up to Super Tuesday, when voters in more than a dozen states across the US will cast votes for their preferred candidate.

The Saturday win could also signal support from African American voters for Biden in other contests. The former vice president had consistently touted his support from the black community, a key voting bloc in the Democratic Party both nationally and in South Carolina. Biden won around 3 in 5 black voters in the state, dominating over Sanders, according to results from CNN’s exit poll Saturday.

‘I’m not going to presume to tell anyone they should drop out’

In his Sunday interview on CNN, Biden said he has not been part of any conversations about the Democratic field consolidating in order to take on Sanders.

“I haven’t had any conversations along those lines, but, you know, I think it’s going to be a decision for the rest of the field to make as they move forward,” he said. “I’m not going to presume to tell anyone they should drop out and take on Bernie Sanders.”

Still, Biden warned against Sanders as the nominee against Trump, saying the Vermont senator would negatively impact Democratic representation in Congress.

“I think everyone knows that it’s going to be much more difficult to win back the Senate and keep the House if Bernie’s at the top of the ticket,” Biden said. “But that’s the judgment for them to make and I think that’ll sort of work itself out in the near term.”

The former vice president said he would be prepared to fight for the nomination if no candidate reaches the number of pledged delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination. “You play by the rules,” Biden said.

“Yes, I mean, look the rules have been set and I find a lot of folks in Bernie’s operation are now saying that whoever goes in with the most delegates even if they’re not close or they’re distant from the 19-plus hundred that we need that they should be declared the winner. I wonder where that view was when he was challenging Hillary after she went in with a commanding lead,” he said.

Biden also said that he hopes Sanders won’t go into the convention as the leading candidate.

“I’m not at all certain that – I’m not a pundit I don’t know that we’re going to go in with Bernie ahead. I hope that’s not the case, I hope I’m ahead, but we’ll see. But I think, you know, you play by the rules.”

To become the nominee for president on the first ballot of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July, a candidate needs to be nominated by a majority of the pledged delegates attending. The national convention delegates come from all 50 states plus Washington, DC, each US territory and Democrats abroad.

Pledged delegates are expected to vote for particular candidates on the convention on the first ballot. Unpledged delegates – also known as superdelegates – can vote on the first ballot only if it is mathematically impossible for them to change the outcome of the pledged delegates’ vote. But if no candidate wins a majority on the first ballot, the superdelegates can vote on subsequent ballots – and the pledged delegates are free to vote for whoever they wish.

This story has been updated with additional comment from Biden on “State of the Union.”

CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Jennifer Agiesta, Grace Sparks and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.