South Carolina, the state that launched Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination four years ago, will deliver the president his first official primary victory of the 2024 campaign on Saturday, CNN projects.
This year marks the first time South Carolina has appeared at the front of the official Democratic nominating calendar — a change made largely due to Biden’s urging.
To cement South Carolina’s status as the first primary of the 2024 Democratic race, Biden visited the Palmetto State twice last month, and Vice President Kamala Harris headlined a get-out-the-vote event at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg on Friday.
“You’ve had my back, and I hope I’ve had yours,” Biden told the Sunday lunch crowd at Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia last weekend.
Some context: With Biden facing little serious competition for the Democratic nomination, Saturday’s primary was important for the president nonetheless because it marked a return to the place that catapulted him to the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Biden limped into the South Carolina primary that year after finishing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, fourth in the New Hampshire primary and a distant second in the Nevada caucuses. However, the Palmetto State’s large Black population — and a late endorsement from influential Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn — helped deliver Biden a dominant victory that, for the first time, demonstrated strength with a core Democratic constituency that no other primary contender could rival.
Four years later, the push by the Biden campaign and its allies in South Carolina was part of a broader effort to shore up support with Black voters, a bloc crucial to the president’s reelection prospects, particularly in battleground states such as Georgia and the “blue wall” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.