COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Joe Biden has easily won the South Carolina primary, the Associated Press projected on Saturday night, beginning his path to the Democratic nomination.
Biden easily beat his long-shot rivals, including Rep. Dean Phillips, (D-Minn.,) and author Marianne Williamson. With just 16 precent of the vote in, Biden had won 97%. Williamson had 2% and Phillips 1%.
“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 said in a statement after the race was called.
Phillips attempted to use humor in the response but promised to continue on to Michigan.
“Congratulations, Mr. President, on a good old fashioned whooping,” he wrote on X. “See you in Michigan.”
The Biden campaign wanted to win the state’s primary by a large margin to quiet critics that his candidacy is struggling. The victory on Saturday as well as a write-in win in New Hampshire last month, will quiet any concerns about his age or other electability issues.
Biden used the primary to to mobilize Black voters, who are a key part of the Democratic vote in South Carolina and central to Biden’s strategy for victory in November. However, Black voters have been frustrated with the President’s progress on key issues such as voting rights, police reform and student-debt relief.
The win gives Biden 55 pledged delegates. In the Democratic primary, a candidate will need to win 1,969 of the 3,936 pledged delegates awarded to clinch the nomination.
Biden made trips to the state as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden. The President gave speeches that focused on the economy, abortion, while contrasting his campaign with Donald Trump.