Joe Biden wins South Carolina primary, vows to make 'Trump a loser again'

South Carolina's Black voters are a solid support base for the Democrats

Biden-middle-east-crisis-ap US President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden

President Joe Biden won South Carolina's Democratic primary on Saturday, kicking off the party's nominating process, the first step towards a rematch against Republican front-runner and former president Donald Trump.

Biden won 85,635 votes or 96 per cent of the expected vote counted, pushing behind his weaker opponents Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn, who won 2 per cent and author Marianne Williamson who took the remaining 2 per cent.

In a victory statement, the Biden campaign said: "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. 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 chose North Carolina to embark on his second bid investing heavily in the state's Black voters, a key support base of Democrats. Though he won the New Hampshire primary last month as a write-in candidate - a symbolic victory - Biden opted not to campaign in the state to honour South Carolina’s official first-in-the-nation status.

US-VOTE-POLITICS-PRIMARY A woman casts her ballot at Ladson Elementary during the Democratic primary on February 3, 2024 in Ladson, South Carolina | AFP

In his efforts to energise his candidacy which is said to be struggling due to concerns about his age and other issues, including his handling of the economy, the President made repeated visits to South Carolina in the run-up to the election. 

Over 26% of the state's residents are Black and account for a majority of South Carolina’s Democratic electorate. Biden, hoping to repeat his 2020 show in the state, had put the spotlight on his administration's efforts to improve Black lives, like his aid to historically Black colleges and programs to erase student loan debt.

"People underestimated the strength of diverse and Black voters. Black people are tuned into this election," Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state representative, told US-based Politico.

After the Democrats reshuffled the presidential nominating calendar last year, next would be Nevada which will hold its primary on Tuesday.  The new order also moves the Democratic primary in Michigan, a large and diverse swing state, to Feb. 27, before the expansive field of states voting on March 5, known as Super Tuesday. 


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