Joe Biden’s struggling campaign for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination got a major boost on Saturday with a clear win for the former vice president in South Carolina. According to The New York Times, Biden brought in nearly 50% of the vote in the Palmetto State, a nearly 30-point lead over the second-place finisher, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Biden claimed a total of 33 delegates, while Sanders got 11. All of the other candidates came up empty-handed.
Biden thanks supporters
As it became clear that Biden would prevail in South Carolina, the former VP thanked supporters in the state, telling them: “I told y’all that you could launch a candidacy. You launched Bill Clinton, Barack Obama to the presidency. Now you launched our campaign on the path to defeating Donald Trump.
“This campaign has taken off,” he went on, imploring people to “join” him by visiting his website and getting involved. “We need you, we want you, and there is a place for you in this campaign,” he concluded in video shared by ABC News.
Joe Biden to South Carolina supporters: “You launched Bill Clinton, Barack Obama to the presidency. Now you launched our campaign on the path to defeating Donald Trump.” https://t.co/gcMFpfkhMP pic.twitter.com/KrPrEpyaGg
— ABC News (@ABC) March 1, 2020
Clyburn offers endorsement
Also present during Biden’s talk was long-time Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who recently threw his support behind the former vice president. In turn, Biden had warm words for the South Carolina congressman, saying, according to ABC Columbia, “You brought me back.”
As House majority whip, Clyburn is the highest-ranking African American in the House of Representatives, and many observers saw his endorsement as a critical move.
“I’ve been saying to the media, I’ve known for a long time who I’m going to vote for. But I had not decided — well, not to share it with the public,” Clyburn said at a press conference Wednesday, according to Politico. “But I want the public to know that I’m voting for Joe Biden… South Carolina should be voting for Joe Biden.”
Trump capitalizes on Biden win
For his part, President Donald Trump used Biden’s win as an opportunity to go after former New York City 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2020
Meanwhile, longshot Democrat hopeful Tom Steyer reacted to Biden’s win with an announcement that he has suspended his campaign, according to NBC News. The billionaire had made headlines earlier in the day when a video of him dancing to Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up” went viral, Fox News reported.
But even with one less Democrat in the running to take on Trump, there’s no telling who will come out on top on Super Tuesday this week, when more than a dozen states and territories will hold their primaries; Sanders currently leads in delegates, but Biden isn’t far behind. Still, it’s hard to imagine that either a self-declared socialist or a gaffe-prone former VP with a recent history of lying could beat Donald Trump this November.