Former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be on the verge of winning a Democratic presidential nominating event for the first time.
Polls have closed in South Carolina (although anyone who is currently still in line to vote will be allowed to vote!) and mass media networks are projecting that Biden will coast to a comfortable victory in the Palmetto State.
Three fifths of black voters in South Carolina backed Biden in exit polling shared by Steve Kornacki of NBC News, while Bernie Sanders received the support of 17% of black voters, up slightly from 14% in 2016.
At least twenty of South Carolina’s fifty-four national convention delegates are expected to go to Biden at this juncture, vaulting Biden past Pete Buttigieg in the overall delegate race, behind frontrunner Bernie Sanders.
Biden could end up with more than twenty out of fifty-four national delegates, but twenty appears to be the minimum number of delegates he will get.
Prior to tonight, only Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada had held nominating events. All are relatively small states with small pools of national convention delegates. And of those three, only Nevada had a significant number of nonwhite voters participating in its nominating event.
Sanders pulled off his most convincing win in Nevada after having won very narrowly in Iowa and somewhat narrowly in New Hampshire.
Tonight, however, belongs to Joe Biden. After having failed to do well in either Iowa or New Hampshire, Biden managed to secure second place in the Silver State and has now notched his first win in a nominating event.
Many pundits are saying that this is now morphing into a two-way race between Biden and Sanders. However, Super Tuesday is just hours away, so there will not be much time for fallout from South Carolina before a whopping fourteen states weigh in, including California, the biggest delegate prize of all. A third of the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday will be from the Golden State.
Biden’s recent fundraising has been very sluggish, leading to a campaign cash crunch. Biden currently only has one office open in California and is considered by many observers to be unprepared for Super Tuesday. His campaign will need to calibrate quickly if it wants to keep pace with Bernie Sanders.
Biden is expected to speak soon and deliver a victory speech in South Carolina. Meanwhile, many of his rivals are in other states, preparing for Super Tuesday.
As South Carolina begins to report actual results, we will update this post.