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Joe Biden wins South Carolina primary with 50% votes; Sanders a distant 2nd

The first primary win in the 2020 presidential race gave Biden the much-needed boost to his White House ambition

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Biden served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017

Former US vice president won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, giving a big boost to his presidential campaign.

Biden, 77, scored more than 50 per cent of the total votes counted in the crucial state of South Carolina, where the primaries for the Democratic party's presidential race were held on Saturday. Senator Bernie Sanders, 78, was a distant second with 17 per cent of the votes counted.

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election, decisively won the GOP primary.

The first primary win in the 2020 presidential race gave Biden the much-needed boost to his White House ambition. He had lost the previous primaries and caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. The last two were won by Sanders and Iowa was a tie between Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

Now all eyes are on "Super Tuesday" or March 3 when presidential primaries would be held in as many as 15 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

The results of "Super Tuesday" would allocate 1,357 of the 3,979 pledged delegates for the Democratic National Convention in Wisconsin later this summer, which would select its nominee for the presidential elections in November.

"We did it! We won South Carolina! We couldn't be more grateful for this incredible team. Last week, we said our comeback started in Nevada and you and the voters of South Carolina made it happen!" Biden said in an email to his supporters soon after winning the South Carolina primaries.

Sanders, however, is still ahead in the delegates count with 45 pledged delegates. Biden with 29 has jumped to the second spot with his decisive win in South Carolina. He is being followed by Buttigieg (26), Senator Elizabeth Warren (eight) and Amy Klobucher, who has seven pledged delegates in her kitty.

Biden, who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 and was the Delaware senator from 1973 to 2009, is making his third shot at the White House. The previous ones being in 1988 and 2008.

Commenting on Biden's maiden electoral victory this season, Trump said this will end the presidential campaign of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Sleepy Joe Biden's victory in the South Carolina Democrat Primary should be the end of Mini Mike Bloomberg's joke of a campaign. After the worst debate performance in the history of presidential debates, Mini Mike now has Biden split up his very few voters, taking many away!" the president said in a tweet.

After his decisive victory in South Carolina, former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he was endorsing Biden for president.

"We cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump's hate-driven chaos and is the candidate with the character, experience and broad appeal to defeat him. Biden has been a friend of Virginia Democrats and my friend for decades and I am proud to endorse him for president of the United States," he said.

The Republican party said the South Carolina results had made the Democratic race a bit messy.

"After more than three decades of trying, finally won a presidential primary state, but this win does not equal momentum," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.

"Today's result all but guarantees that this primary process is not ending anytime soon. President Trump will beat whichever socialist the Democrats eventually nominate this November," she added.

First Published: Sun, March 01 2020. 07:24 IST