Updated Mar 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden wins South Carolina primary

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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Clyburn says Sanders didn't aggressively seek his endorsement

Biden with Rep. Jim Clyburn, Feb. 29. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking black member of Congress, told The Daily Beast Wednesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders did not make specific efforts to court his endorsement for the 2020 presidential race.

Why it matters: Clyburn's endorsement of Biden ahead of the South Carolina primary has been viewed as a major factor in reviving the former vice president's struggling campaign, propelling him to sweeping victories in South Carolina and across the South on Super Tuesday.

Super Tuesday suddenly looks different

Biden celebrates in South Carolina. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Joe Biden's huge win in South Carolina is resetting the parameters of the Democratic contest ahead of Super Tuesday.

Why it matters: The former vice president's first primary victory raises existential questions for billionaire Mike Bloomberg and could slow Bernie Sanders' runaway train. And it could give new life to Biden's own withering electability argument — and ramp up pressure on moderates in his lane to drop out.

Inside Biden's big win

Biden celebrates with his supporters after declaring victory at an election-night rally at the University of South Carolina. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Editor's note: Snapchat's Peter Hamby, host of "Good Luck America," sent Axios this dispatch from Biden's victory party in Columbia, S.C.

Joe Biden can now make the case he's got a coalition: black voters, older voters and the type of never-Trump, Romney-Clinton suburban independents who were so crucial to Democratic House wins in 2018.

Driving the news: 7 pm ET, when the race was called, was the Biden campaign’s biggest hour of online fundraising to date. The campaign's digital director, Rob Flaherty, tweeted that the campaign’s “No Malarkey” mugs sold out in two hours. 

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy