U.S. President Joe Biden, left, waits to speak as first lady Jill Biden stands by his side at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, Feb. 3, 2024. AP Photo

Biden Wins South Carolina’s Democratic Primary

By Associated Press |

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — U.S. President Joe Biden easily won South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Saturday, clinching a state he pushed to lead off his party’s nominating process after it revived his then-struggling White House bid four years ago.

Biden defeated the other long-shot Democrats on South Carolina’s ballot, including Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips and author Marianne Williamson. With 74% of the votes counted, Biden had 108,123 votes, or 96.4% of the votes.

His reelection campaign invested heavily in driving up turnout in what it saw as a test drive of its efforts to mobilize Black voters, a key Democratic bloc central to Biden’s chances in a likely November rematch against former President Donald Trump.

“In 2020, it was the voters of South Carolina who proved the pundits wrong, breathed new life into our campaign, and set us on the path to winning the presidency,” Biden said in a statement. “Now in 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the Presidency again — and making Donald Trump a loser — again.”

The Associated Press declared Biden the winner at 7:23 p.m. based on an analysis of initial vote results showing him with a decisive lead in key locations throughout the state. He won all 55 of the state’s Democratic delegates.

The president was behind a Democratic National Committee effort to have South Carolina be the party’s first primary, citing the state’s more racially diverse population compared to the traditional first-in-the-nation states of Iowa and New Hampshire, which are overwhelmingly white.

South Carolina is reliably Republican, but 26% of its residents are Black. In the 2020 general election, Black voters made up 11% of the national electorate, and 9 in 10 of them supported Biden, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of that election’s voters.

Biden pushed for a revamped primary calendar that will see Nevada go second, holding its primary on Tuesday. The new order also moves the Democratic primary in Michigan, a large and diverse swing state, to February 27, before a large field of states vote on March 5, known as Super Tuesday.

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