(JTA) — Joe Biden won commandingly in the South Carolina Democratic primary — a badly needed victory with Super Tuesday days away.
Biden took 48.4 percent of Saturday’s vote while winning every county, The New York Times reported. Bernie Sanders, the front-runner, finished with 19.9 percent of the vote.
With his first state primary win after three decades of running for president, Biden inched closer to Sanders in the delegate count: The former vice president gained 39 pledged delegates and moved into second with 48, while the Jewish senator from Vermont picked up 15 and now has 56. Pete Buttigieg fell to third overall with 26 after failing to meet the 15 percent threshold needed for delegates.
“Thank you, South Carolina!” Biden tweeted late Saturday night. “To all those who have been knocked down, counted out, and left behind — this is your campaign. Together, we will win this nomination and beat Donald Trump.”
Biden had faltered early in the primaries while Sanders was winning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Sanders, at a rally in Virginia, acknowledged Biden’s success in South Carolina.
“That will not be the only defeat,” Sanders said. “There are a lot of states in this country, nobody wins them all.”
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg did not appear on the South Carolina primary ballot. The Jewish billionaire will make his debut on the ballot on Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold nominating contests.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire who has spent nearly $200 million on his campaign, most of it from his personal fortune, withdrew as a candidate after his third-place showing in South Carolina. He was followed by Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren with 8.2 percent and 7.1 percent.