Former Vice President Joe Biden has won South Carolina’s Democratic primary.
It was his first victory in three tries at the Democratic nomination, and it came during the fourth Democratic primary contest of the 2020 election season.
Biden tweeted Saturday night shortly after the polls closed: “Thank you, South Carolina!” He says, “To all those who have been knocked down, counted out, and left behind—this is your campaign.”
Biden’s South Carolina watch party erupted when The Associated Press and television networks called the state’s primary for him.
The Columbia scene, with more than a thousand supporters filling the University of South Carolina’s volleyball gymnasium, was quite different compared to that in Iowa and New Hampshire just weeks ago.
Biden’s Iowa crowd was late arriving and obviously relieved when a meltdown of the caucus count spared Biden having to acknowledge his fourth-place finish. In New Hampshire, Biden wasn’t even there for his fifth-place finish, having bailed on the state to speak in South Carolina.
Biden finished his tweet by saying, “Together, we will win this nomination and beat Donald Trump.”
Biden is behind front-runner Bernie Sanders as both work to build momentum heading into Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa weigh in on the race.
Only Biden and California billionaire Tom Steyer planned to mark primary night in the state, as the rest of the field stumped across the spectrum of Super Tuesday states that vote next week.
About 40 percent of voters in South Carolina picked health care as the top issue, while 22 percent said the economy and jobs are most important. That’s according to an AP VoteCast survey of the electorate. Fourteen percent of voters identified climate change.
Close to 9 in 10 Democratic voters said it’s important for their nominee to be a strong leader.