Updated Mar 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden wins South Carolina primary

Joe Biden at a podium pointing at the crowd.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to decisively win the South Carolina Democratic primary, a crucial win that demonstrates his support among African American voters.

Why it matters: The victory is Biden's first-ever presidential primary win. He has long predicted that his appeal among voters of color would carry him in South Carolina.

  • Roughly half of black South Carolina Democratic voters told exit pollsters they want a return to presidencies like former President Obama's, compared to about two-thirds of white voters who want fundamental change in Washington.

What he's saying: "Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared this candidacy dead," Biden said at a rally in South Carolina. "Now, thanks to all of you, the heart of the Democratic Party, we've just won, and we’ve won big because of you. We are very much alive!"

The big picture: Biden needed a decisive win in South Carolina to boost his momentum heading into the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3, when more than a third of the convention delegates will be at stake, primarily from Southern states.

Between the lines: Axios' Alexi McCammond reported Saturday on how South Carolina voters feel a personal connection with Biden...

  • "Biden has vacationed there for years, and his friendship with Rep. Jim Clyburn gives him credibility with older African American voters."
  • That Clyburn endorsement mattered: Roughly 60% told the Edison exit poll that Clyburn's support factored in their decision.
  • "In South Carolina, where a majority of Democratic voters are African American, you can't talk to a Biden supporter without Barack Obama's name also coming up. 'He trusted Biden,' said Sue Gibbs, 68."

By the numbers: South Carolina has 54 pledged delegates to apportion to candidates who garnered at least 15% of Saturday's vote.

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Go deeper: Joe Biden on the issues, in under 500 words

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Biden's comments.

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