Former Vice President Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary, making it his first time getting the largest number of votes in the 2020 Democratic presidential race. It was also his first primary win in his three bids for president. It was a decisive victory in which Biden earned nearly 50% of the votes — a large victory over the current frontrunner, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
His victory was in large part due to his support from African-Americans. He earned 64% of the Black vote, who make up more than half of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, according to The New York Times.
“All of you who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind — this is your campaign,” Biden told the South Carolina crowd at his victory rally. “Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared this candidacy dead. Now, thanks to all of you, the heart of the Democratic party, we’ve just won and we’ve won big because of you.”
Sanders came in a distant second, earning 19.9% of the vote. Billionaire Tom Steyer (with 11.3%), former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (8.2%), and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (7.1%) rounded out the top five in the primary.
Going into Super Tuesday, Biden’s win gives him a much-needed boost, but Sanders has a commanding lead in the delegate race. Sanders is leading in Texas and is tied with Biden in North Carolina, according to a NBC News/Marist poll, which was conducted before Biden’s primary win. Both are key Super Tuesday states that will divvy up a combined 338 delegates.
The results of the March 3 vote, which includes delegate-rich California, could also help thin out the presidential candidate pool. After South Carolina, Steyer dropped out of the race, despite his third-place finish in the state.
While Sanders is still the Democratic frontrunner, Biden has positioned himself as the alternative to the progressive candidate. In a new interview, Biden went as far as to claim that Sanders is not fit to lead the party.
“I think Bernie Sanders’ positions on a number of issues, even in the Democratic party, are very controversial,” Biden told Meet The Press after South Carolina, adding the American people “are not looking for revolution, they are looking for results, they’re looking for change, they’re looking for movement forward.”
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