Joe Biden scores decisive victory in S.C. Democratic primary

The win comes at a crucial moment in Biden’s campaign.
Updated: Mar. 1, 2020 at 6:04 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Former Vice President Joe Biden has scored a decisive victory in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary. It’s a win his campaign badly needed.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Just moments later, NBC News and the Associated Press called the race for Biden.

Biden was counting on this win to reinvigorate his campaign. He had disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, ending up fourth and fifth, but placed second in Nevada.

“My buddy Jim Clyburn here brought me back!” Biden declared at the beginning of his speech to supporters on primary night.

Congressman Clyburn, the highest-ranking Democrat in South Carolina, endorsed Biden, which boosted him among a key demographic -- African American voters.

“Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared this candidacy dead,” Biden said. “Now, thanks to all of you, the heart of the Democratic party -- we have just won and we’ve won big because of you! And we are very much alive.”

This win comes at a crucial moment for Biden -- heading into Super Tuesday, when the majority of delegates will be awarded to Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“The decisions Democrats make all across America in the next few days will determine what this party stands for, what we believe and what we’ll get done,” Biden said. “If Democrats nominate me I believe we can beat Donald Trump.”

Many voters in South Carolina said they believe the former vice president is just the candidate to do that.

“I firmly believe in his message of restoring the soul of the nation, and taking back the White House,” Melissa Ford, a supporter who attended his campaign event Saturday, said.

Supporter Diane Ortiz added: “He’s well respected in the House and the Senate, and I think that he’s the one that can get things done. Stop the hate, bickering, and quite frankly get rid of this whiny president we have because it’s just exhausting.”

President Trump addressed Biden’s victory on Twitter, calling him “Sleepy Joe.” But he also said this means an end to Mike Bloomberg’s campaign.

Bloomberg entered the race late and was not on the ballot in South Carolina. He will appear on ballots on Super Tuesday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders was considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination coming into South Carolina. He will finish second in the state.

Tom Steyer looks to finish third, Pete Buttigieg fourth and Sen. Elizabeth Warren a close fifth.

More than 500,000 votes were cast in the primary Saturday, which is possibly the highest turnout of any South Carolina primary in history.

South Carolina’s primary is before Super Tuesday, when a large number of delegates are awarded to presidential candidates. The primary’s timing, and the state’s diverse voting population, make it important for any campaign.

For those confused by seeing candidates on the South Carolina Democratic Primary ballot who are no longer running -- that is because the candidates filed to be on the ballot in the state but did not withdraw from the race until after absentee voting began.

While votes for them will show up in the results, they will not count.

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