In a pivotal moment for the 2024 Democratic primary season, U.S. President Joe Biden secured victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary, the first officially sanctioned race of the party’s nominating season. Edison Research projections showed Biden dominating the field, with early returns indicating his significant lead over opponents.
Despite facing little opposition, the outcome of the South Carolina primary was closely scrutinized, particularly regarding Biden’s popularity, especially among Black voters. Edison Research made predictions shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, projecting Biden’s win with approximately 97 percent of the early counted votes.
With about one-fifth of expected ballots counted, Biden garnered around 33,000 votes, outpacing his main challengers, U.S. Representative Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson.
In a statement, the Biden campaign celebrated the victory, drawing parallels to the 2020 election, stating, “Now in 2024, 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’s arrival in Los Angeles, where he was expected to meet with Black entertainers, coincided with the closing of the polls in South Carolina. It was the state’s Black vote that played a crucial role in igniting his campaign four years ago, leading to his eventual victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Despite concerns about potential voter apathy and doubts related to Biden’s age, the incumbent president appeared to be on track for an overwhelming victory in South Carolina. Democratic officials estimated a total of 100,000 to 200,000 primary votes, with a focus on exciting voters through events featuring Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
While South Carolina has historically favored Republican candidates in general elections, the state’s heavily Black electorate presents a significant test of Biden’s appeal within the Democratic base.
Some voters expressed reservations about Biden’s reelection bid, citing concerns about his visibility and age. Martin Orr, a 52-year-old school administrator from McConnells, South Carolina, stated, “Is it quiet because of his age or his physical condition, or what’s going on? I think that’s what a lot of people are concerned about right now.”
With Biden already shifting into general-election mode and attacking former President Donald Trump in speeches, the outcome in South Carolina sets the tone for the upcoming Democratic primary contests and the broader battle for the presidency in 2024.