Sen. John Edwards wins SC Primary

Published: Feb. 2, 2004 at 10:33 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2004 at 12:35 PM EST
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(Columbia-AP) Feb. 4, 2004 - South Carolina native John Edwards won the Democratic presidential primary he said he had to win Tuesday night. The Seneca native defeated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who was coming off wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.  See results here>>

The North Carolina senator won South Carolina's primary with 45 percent of the vote. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry finished second with 30 percent. The Reverend Al Sharpton had ten percent.

Retired General Wesley Clark had seven percent, followed by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean with five percent. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman pulled out of the race last night after a poor showing in all seven state contests. Lieberman had only two percent in South Carolina.

The win gave Edwards 28 of South Carolina's delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Kerry picked up 17 delegates.

Edwards sounded the populist themes of his campaign Tuesday night as he celebrated his win Jillian's in Columbia's Congaree Vista. Edwards told supporters in a short speech his win shows everything is possible in America. He says he wants to work to build one America that works for everybody.

The senator promised to be a candidate for all Americans. The South Carolina native spoke of the millions of Americans living in poverty and called himself a candidate who understands the problems of the working class.

He says the strategy he used to win in South Carolina will work everywhere and proves that "lifting people up beats the politics of tearing people down." Campaign chairman, Ed Turlington, says Edwards' victory in South Carolina has "national significance" because all candidates
campaigned in the state.

Francis Marion University political scientist Neal Thigpen says Edwards had to win in his native state, and did so in handsome fashion. Thigpen says second place finisher and Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry showed well, considering he had not been in South Carolina for four months, until the Democratic candidate debate in Greenville last week.

Kerry won primaries in Missouri, Delaware, Arizona and North Dakota on Tuesday. Clark won in Oklahoma. Fallen front-runner Dean conceded in advance that he was likely to remain winless in the nominating campaign.

The Massachusetts senator was coming off wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and had picked up endorsements from Senator Ernest Hollings and Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn. Thigpen says Kerry failed to nurture a network of supporters in South Carolina.

Exactly 269 pledged delegates, or more than 10% of the 2162 needed for the nomination, were at stake in seven states. The count breaks down: Missouri (74), Arizona (55), South Carolina (45), Oklahoma (40), New Mexico (26), Delaware (15) and North Dakota (14).

updated 7:50am by BrettWitt