President Biden was expected to secure a decisive victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, according to Decision Desk HQ. This win followed Biden’s support for the unprecedented decision to make South Carolina the first voting state instead of New Hampshire, as part of his initiative to amplify diverse voices in early Democratic primaries.
Although Biden had previously won the January primary in New Hampshire through a write-in campaign led by his supporters, he did not receive any official delegates due to the Democratic Party not endorsing that contest. Consequently, his triumph in South Carolina stands as his first official primary win.
Anticipation for Biden’s success in the Palmetto State was high. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a key ally of the president in Congress, indicated that Biden’s success would likely translate to at least “seventy percent” of the voter turnout, according to The New York Times.
“I hope we get 150,000 people to vote, and of the 150 to 200,000 people, I would like to see Joe Biden get 70, 75 percent of that,” Clyburn stated.
As of Saturday night, the president seemed on track to surpass that goal, although ballots were still undergoing processing.
Biden’s victory demonstrates that his focused efforts in the state yielded positive results. While South Carolina may not be a battleground in the general election, his triumph could invigorate Democrats leading up to November. Biden visited South Carolina twice in January and enlisted the support of First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Harris to rally voters.
Furthermore, Biden’s win weakened arguments from primary challengers Marianne Williamson and Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who criticized him for lacking enthusiasm from the base and facing challenges such as age and approval ratings.
South Carolina played a crucial role for Biden in 2020, and his continued focus on the state during his first term appeared as a gesture of gratitude towards the voters who helped him secure the nomination. His campaign, once considered nearly over, gained momentum after winning the South Carolina primary, fueled by a pivotal endorsement from Representative Jim Clyburn.
Biden’s victory among Democrats in South Carolina provides a boost heading into the general election against likely challenger, former President Trump. This marks the president’s second win this primary season, following last month’s victory in New Hampshire through a unique write-in initiative.
Poll aggregations from Decision Desk HQ and The Hill show Trump holding a 2.2 percentage point lead over Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head contest.