President Biden won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, giving him the kind of emphatic result he no doubt envisioned when he made the state the first contest on the Democrats’ presidential nominating calendar.
The election, called by The Associated Press shortly after polls closed, gives Mr. Biden the first set of delegates required to claim the Democratic nomination at the party’s convention in August.
Mr. Biden vowed that South Carolina would once again send him to the White House.
“The people of South Carolina have spoken again, and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the presidency again — and making Donald Trump a loser again,” the president said in a statement released by his campaign.
Mr. Biden won an overwhelming majority of South Carolina Democrats, more than 96 percent with 80 percent of the vote counted — dominating every county with more than 95 percent of the vote, including in heavily Black areas.
His campaign had wanted South Carolina to prove that the party’s base — particularly Black voters — remain devoted to Mr. Biden and would turn out for him in large numbers. The state’s open primary system means voters are free to choose which primary to vote in, and the stakes are far higher in the Republican contest pitting Mr. Trump against Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor — and there had been some concern from party officials about voters waiting to participate in that contest on Feb. 24 instead.
Black voters are critical to Mr. Biden’s success in battleground states, but transposing South Carolina’s results in February to November voting in Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia is a tricky proposition, given that Saturday’s primary was viewed by most observers — correctly, as it turned out — as noncompetitive.