South Carolina gave President Joe Biden his first official victory in the Democratic primary, in a result that was largely expected.
The state that nominated Biden for the Democratic nomination four years ago gave the president a victory over his closest competitor, Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips.
To cement South Carolina's position as the top primary for the 2024 Democratic race, Biden visited the Palmetto City twice last month, and Vice President Kamala Harris chaired a voting event at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg on Friday.
The president was not in South Carolina on Saturday, where he was heading on a fundraising tour through Southern California and Nevada. Before leaving, he stopped at his re-election campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, and made brief remarks with a focus on the general election.
“This is not just a campaign. This is important,” Biden says, adding: “We cannot lose this campaign for the good of the country .. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. It's not about me. It's about the country. "I think everyone knows that, and I think it's starting to become clear to people."
President Biden added: The American people understand that. “They understand what is happening, and the competition is about protecting democracy.”
With Biden facing little serious competition for the Democratic nomination, Saturday's primary was nonetheless important for the president because it represents a return to the prestige that propelled him to the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Biden entered the South Carolina primary that year after placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, fourth in the New Hampshire primary, and a distant second in the Nevada caucuses. However, Palmetto's large black population — and a late endorsement from influential Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn — helped deliver Biden a dominant victory that demonstrated, for the first time, a strength with a core Democratic electoral base that no other primary challenger could match.
Republicans dominate South Carolina in the general election. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the state was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
But the push by the Biden campaign and its allies in South Carolina was part of a broader effort to shore up support among black voters, a critical bloc for the president's reelection prospects, especially in hotly contested states like Georgia and "blue wall" states.