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Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Democratic Primary; Sanders Is Distant Second

South Carolina has 54 delegates up for grabs

Joe Biden is the winner of the Democratic primary in South Carolina, thanks to the support of the African American voters in the state.

With 17% of the precincts reported, Biden has about 52% of the vote, while Sanders has about 17%. Once all the votes are in, the win could give Biden as many as 54 delegates and it quells the recent winning streak of progressive rival Bernie Sanders, who currently has 51.

The victory is much needed for Biden, as voters in 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia — gear up to head to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 3, where 1,357 delegates are at stake. Of the 3,979 delegates available in 2020, a minimum of 1,991 are needed to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot.

Biden has said that South Carolina would be an important primary to win. The state’s primary has served as the candidates’ first real test among black voters.

Four days before the South Carolina primary and exactly a week before Super Tuesday, seven candidates — Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer — appeared on stage in South Carolina for the 10th Democratic presidential debate.

Candidates sustained attacks on Bloomberg, with Sanders also the focus of much criticism, something he’s largely avoided until now. But none of the candidates, including Bloomberg and Sanders, landed any real punches during the debate. It largely amounted to a recitation of prior criticisms and reiteration of stump speeches — though booing audience members made things lively more than once.

There was criticism around the way the pre-primary events were conducted. CBS ran ads for candidate Michael Bloomberg during that debate, prompting questions from media insiders and political observers. CBS News was one of the media partners for the debate and CBS News anchors served as moderators.