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Biden sets sights on Super Tuesday after big win in South Carolina primary

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Former US vice president Joe Biden won the South Carolina primaries by a huge margin, his first primary victory and a chance at beating rival Bernie Sanders to the Democratic ticket for the 2020 presidential race.

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Biden scored 48.5% of the vote. Sanders came in second with 19.9, and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer placed third with 11.4%.

With a total of 54 South Carolina delegates in the offing, Biden picked up 32 to Sanders 11, with the remainder uncommitted. Under primary rules, any given candidate, regardless of ranking, must win at least 15% of the vote in each delegate pool to win any delegates at all. Only Biden and Sanders managed to meet that threshold in South Carolina.

The vote marked Bidens first primary victory of the election season, as well as the last major event on the election calendar before the crucially decisive Super Tuesday, which falls on March 3, on which primaries take place in 14 US States as well as American Samoa, and Democrats Abroad.

Bidens win came at a do-or-die moment in his 2020 bid as the moderate Democrat bounced back from lacklustre performances in the three previous primaries — Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

"For all of those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind – this is your campaign," Biden told a victory party in Columbia, South Carolina. “We need you, we want you, theres a place for you in this campaign. If Democrats nominate me, I believe we can beat Donald Trump.”

In terms of the US Presidential election calendar, South Carolina is the first Southern US state to hold a primary, and it is generally considered a bellwether for how other southern states will vote in future primaries. It is also considered an indicator of a candidates overall popularity with African-American voters nationwide. Biden received a boost on Wednesday from the endorsement of James Clyburn, a South Carolina congressman and the highest-ranking African American in the House of Representatives, the US lower house.

The polls also found about six out of 10 South Carolina voters said influential black congressman James Clyburn's endorsement of Biden on Wednesday was a factor in their decision.

Exit polls showed Biden beating Sanders among a broad range of demographic and ideological groups, including those who identified themselves as "very liberal"–a surprise, since it was assumed that the far-left would uniformly support Sanders, a self-described Social Democrat.

Bidens allies almost immediately cast the South Carolina victory as proof that he should stand as the clear alternative to Sanders.

Steyer bows out

After exit poll results had environmentalist candidate Tom Steyer coming in third, the latter announced he was ending his bid for the Democratic ticket and pulling out of the presidential race. In South Carolina, the billionaire activist had spent more than $19 million on television advertising — more than all the other candidates combined.

South Carolina was strongest showing yet in a 2020 Democratic nominating contest, but he was far behind winner Joe Biden and second-place finisher Bernie Sanders.

"Honestly, I can't see a path where I can win the presidency," Steyer told supporters in South Carolina.

"I love you very much, this has been a great experience, I have zero regrets. Meeting you and the people of America has been a highlight of my life."

The 62-year-old former hedge fund manager from San Francisco portrayed himself as a political outsider and blasted corporate money in U.S. politics in July, when he joined a field of two dozen Democrats seeking to deny US President Donald Trump a second term.

Thank you @TomSteyer for running a campaign to bring the crisis of climate change to the forefront of our national conversation. I look forward to working together to defeat Donald Trump in November.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 1, 2020

Sanders focusing on Super Tuesday

Sanders was spending the lead-up to Super Tuesday campaigning in the home states of two major Democratic rivals, betRead More – Source