The 2020 South Carolina primary

By Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0448 GMT (1248 HKT) March 1, 2020
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8:40 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Bernie Sanders: "You cannot win them all"

From CNN's Lauren Dezenski

Pool
Pool

Bernie Sanders acknowledged that he didn't win South Carolina's primary while addressing supporters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Saturday night.

"We did not win in South Carolina. That will not be the only defeat. There are a lot of states in this country and nobody can win them all," Sanders said.

"I want to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory tonight," he added. "And now we’re on to Super Tuesday in Virginia."

Watch:

8:30 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Why Biden still needs Klobuchar and Warren in the race

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

There is no rush to push Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren out of the race — yet — and here’s why: Joe Biden's campaign needs them in the race on Tuesday.

Team Biden believes having Klobuchar in the race through Super Tuesday is incredibly helpful to them.

Why? It blocks Bernie Sanders in the Minnesota primary on Tuesday.

“If Amy gets out, that gives Minnesota to Bernie,” a top Democrat close to the Biden campaign tells CNN.

Four years ago, Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, winning 62% to 38% in the state’s caucuses. He has a strong appeal to Minnesota voters. But this year, it’s a primary contest which Klobuchar advisers believe she is poised to win or be incredibly competitive with Sanders.

A similar argument is true for Warren in Massachusetts. The Biden campaign wants Warren to be in the race through Super Tuesday, when Massachusetts voters weigh in.

Pete Buttigieg does not have such a home state argument to make, but three advisers to his campaign say he intends to stay in the race through Super Tuesday. But a conversation is happening tonight about his future, they tell CNN, and a decision has not been made.

Advisers to all Democratic candidates insist they have no plans to leave the race before Super Tuesday. We’ll see if that holds as the strength of Biden’s victory crystalizes.

One thing to note: All eyes are on Mike Bloomberg's campaign— and whether the former New York City mayor offers any signal about making a major decision about his future in the race before Tuesday.

Watch:

8:26 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

This is Biden's third run for president, but tonight is different

From CNN's Lauren Dezenski

Biden speaks at a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Saturday, February 29.
Biden speaks at a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Saturday, February 29. Gerry Broome/AP

This is the third time Joe Biden has run for president, but South Carolina is projected to give Biden something new: An outright victory. 

He first ran in the 1988 cycle but didn’t even make it to the primary voting period. His campaign was derailed in September 1987 after a plagiarism scandal in his stump speech. 

Biden made it to Iowa in his 2008 bid, but dropped out after a poor showing in the caucuses. Barack Obama tapped him to be his running mate in August 2008.

Now, Biden has so far notched underwhelming finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, he’s already gone further than his previous presidential bids.

Biden himself has set expectations high for his South Carolina performance. "The full comeback starts in South Carolina and then goes here on Tuesday," Biden said while rallying supporters in North Carolina on Saturday.

Correction: The headline on this post has been corrected to accurately characterize how many times Biden has run for president.

7:23 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

How Biden won the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary

From CNN’s Grace Sparks

Supporters cheer as the polls close for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at his primary night event in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, February 29.
Supporters cheer as the polls close for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at his primary night event in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, February 29. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Joe Biden surged to a projected victory in South Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary with a base rooted in black voters, those over the age of 65 and moderates, according to preliminary results.

Biden won around 3 in 5 black voters, dominating over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, his closest competitor who got almost 1 in 5 of the group. Businessman Tom Steyer came close to Sanders, with around 1 in 7 black voters.

Almost 3 in 5 voters over the age of 65 supported Biden in his run in South Carolina, followed by Steyer and Sanders with slightly more than 1 in 10. 

Biden led among moderate voters with more than half of the group supporting him. However, Biden also won over voters who consider themselves very liberal, with around 2 in 5 of the group, surpassing Sanders with 3 in 10. Elizabeth Warren followed Sanders with around 1 in 7 very liberal voters.

7:30 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe endorses Joe Biden for president 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Saturday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. 

Virginia is a Super Tuesday state, and voters will head to the polls next week to vote in the state’s Democratic primary.

Watch:

7:17 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Joe Biden takes second place in overall delegates (for now)

From CNN's Adam Levy

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd during a campaign event at Wofford University February 28 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd during a campaign event at Wofford University February 28 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s first place projected win in South Carolina brings him to second place in the national delegate estimate.

It’s still early in the night, but CNN currently estimates Biden will earn at least 14 of the state’s 54 pledged delegates at stake.

The current CNN national Democratic delegate estimate is:

  • Sanders: 45
  • Biden: 29
  • Buttigieg: 26
  • Warren: 8
  • Klobuchar: 7

More on this: Candidates who earn more than 15% of the vote statewide or in a congressional district in the Palmetto State will be eligible for national delegates tonight.

Biden is hoping this win will help his prospects on Super Tuesday, when the candidates will compete for the largest delegate opportunity of the cycle.

About one-third of all pledged delegates, 1,344, are at stake Tuesday night. Fourteen states and American Samoa will head to the polls this coming Tuesday.

It takes 1,991 pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot of the Democratic National Committee Convention this July in Milwaukee.

David Chalian has more:

7:04 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Biden wins in South Carolina, CNN projects

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the South Carolina Democratic primary, CNN projects.

Earlier today, Biden, speaking at a rally, confidently proclaimed that “the full comeback starts in South Carolina.” 

“Today is a great day because I’ll tell you what the full comeback starts in South Carolina and then goes here on Tuesday,” he said earlier today. “I mean it. We’re going to win South Carolina, and the next step is North Carolina. We do enough, we’re going to win here as well and then it’s a straight path to the nomination for President of the United States of America.”

Watch:

7:00 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Polls close in South Carolina

Polls just closed in South Carolina, the last primary before Super Tuesday.

6:57 p.m. ET, February 29, 2020

Around half of voters say the next president should return to Obama’s policies

From CNN's Grace Sparks

Around half of South Carolina Democratic voters say the next president should return to Obama-era policies, while around 3 in 10 would prefer they be more liberal, according to early exit poll results.

Only about 1 in 8 want the next president’s policies to be more conservative than former President Barack Obama’s.

More than half of voters in South Carolina Saturday said they attend religious services once a week or more, while another 2 in 5 attend occasionally. Almost 1 in 5 never attend religious services. 

Showing the differences in South Carolina compared to the race's first three states, 51% in New Hampshire said they never attend religious services.