Biden nets landslide victory in South Carolina Democratic main, over 95% of votes

U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he attends the opening of the Biden for President campaign office in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., February 3, 2024. 

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

President Joe Biden won a landslide victory in South Carolina’s Democratic primary Saturday, where voters sent a clear message that they are ready for Biden to pivot to the November election.

As of 12:00 a.m. ET, Sunday, Biden had won 96.2% of ballots cast, with 97% of the total votes tallied.

The other two Democrats on the ballot, House Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and self-help author and 2020 Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson each won around 2% of ballots.

The win injects fresh momentum into Biden’s reelection campaign, and it offers a compelling rebuttal to the narrative that Democratic voters are ambivalent — or worse — about their party’s standard bearer.

“In 2020, it was the voters of South Carolina who proved the pundits wrong, breathed new life into our campaign, and set us on the path to winning the Presidency,” Biden said in a statement following Saturday’s results.

“Now in 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the Presidency again — and making Donald Trump a loser — again.”

Biden will be awarded all 55 of the state’s Democratic delegates, NBC News projects, as neither Williamson nor Phillips broke the 15% threshold for being awarded any delegates. 

Biden’s overwhelming margin of victory left no question about who Democratic voters want to be on the ballot in November. 

But it came amid reports of lower than expected turnout, potentially a sign of weakened enthusiasm for Biden among Democrats. 

In 2020, approximately 16% of the state’s 3.3 million registered voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary. On Saturday, that number dropped to roughly 4% of voters.

In particular, polls have shown Biden’s support lagging among Black voters, a core Democratic party bloc that was key to his 2020 win. 

Black voters account for a majority of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, so his victory there Saturday could help to ease some of those concerns. 

Biden’s campaign has also been under pressure to show momentum, a real challenge this year given that Democrats’ official primary season kicked off late. 

In Iowa, the Democratic party decided not to cast any ballots at their caucuses, denying Biden the chance to win there. 

In New Hampshire, Biden’s name was not on the formal ballot, but he won the contest as a write-in candidate with 64% of the vote.

Republicans will vote in their party primary on Feb. 24, where former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will attempt to pull off an upset in her home state, against former President Donald Trump.

The GOP primary is expected to garner much higher turnout and more attention than Saturday’s vote.

Unlike the Republican battle, the Democratic primary has, so far, been notable for its civility.

“Congratulations, Mr. President, on a good old fashioned whooping,” Phillips wrote on X.

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