Biden wins the Democratic primary in South Carolina to run for president
President Joe Biden once again won the presidential primary in South Carolina, his first official primary victory of the election season.
Related: South Carolina Democratic Primary 2024: Track live results
Amid low voter turnout, The Associated Press projected that Biden would also win all 55 of the state’s Democratic delegates. Party leaders and elected officials have pledged seven more delegates, such as South Carolina’s lone Democratic congressman, Jim Clyburn. Neither Dean Phillips, a congressman from Minnesota, nor author Marianne Williamson received at least 15% of the statewide vote or 15% of the vote in any congressional district, which is the threshold needed to win delegates.
The president sent out a statement shortly after the results were announced in his favor, specifically highlighting black voters, who make up 26% of the state’s population and a large portion of South Carolina’s Democratic voting base.
“As I said four years ago, this campaign is for all those who have been excluded, counted out and left behind. And that remains true today. With more than 14 million new jobs and 24 consecutive months — two years — of an unemployment rate below 4%,” he said. “Including a record-low unemployment rate for Black Americans, we will leave no one behind.”
“In 2020, it was South Carolina voters who proved the critics wrong, breathed new life into our campaign, and put us on a path to winning the presidency.
“Now in 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again and I have no doubt that you have put us on the path to winning the presidency again — and making Donald Trump a loser — again.
Biden continued: “When I was elected president, I said that the days of the backbone of the Democratic Party being at the back of the line were over. That was a promise and a promise kept. And now you are first in the nation.”
The Democratic National Committee changed the national election calendar last year to designate South Carolina as the first official contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, taking the franchise away from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Biden did not participate in the New Hampshire primary, which was conducted by Democratic officials in the state over the objections of the National Committee.
Marvin Pendarvis, a Democratic state representative from North Charleston, said the primary is important, regardless of turnout.
Everyone probably wondered why it mattered to us to have a turnout, even when we knew that Joe Biden would win South Carolina. That is because we are the first in the nation. That’s because we want to maintain that status through 2028. And it’s important for our party to be able to showcase why South Carolina was chosen to be first: because we represent the Democratic Party, not just in the diversity of our values, but also in how we look and how we come together as Democrats.
Pendarvis added: “We are the ones who led Joe Biden to office in 2020.” “We will do it again in 2024.”
South Carolina’s primaries are open, allowing any registered voter to participate, although voters choose only one primary—Democrat or Republican—in which to vote. Of South Carolina’s 3.3 million registered voters, about 13% participated in the 2016 Democratic primary, which was won. Overwhelmingly by Hillary Clinton, while 16% voted in the 2020 primary that separated Biden from the pack.
South Carolina Republicans head to the polls on February 24, with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley facing off against former President Donald Trump.
Biden’s statement ended with a warning about the contest ahead: “The stakes in this election could not be higher. There are dangerous, extremist voices operating in the country – led by Donald Trump – determined to divide our nation and take us backwards. We cannot allow this to happen. We’ve come a long way over the past four years – America now has the strongest economy in the world and among the lowest inflation rates of any major economy. Let’s keep moving forward. Let’s finish what we started – together.”