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South Carolina primary live updates: NBC projects Biden wins

Bernie Sanders finished second in the primary, according to an NBC News projection.
Image: Voters will go to the polls in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.
Voters will go to the polls in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Sat., Feb. 29, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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NBC News projects former Vice President Joe Biden has won the South Carolina primary with heavy support from black and moderate voters.

Saturday's first-in-the-South primary could be a pivotal moment for many of the candidates, especially Biden, who is counting on his projected landslide win here to reinvigorate his candidacy ahead of Super Tuesday.

Also on the ballot were Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was not in the running as he decided to skip the first four nominating contests.

Highlights from the South Carolina primary

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Live Blog

Group preps $4 million Super Tuesday push to stop Sanders

A new group of moderate Democrats trying to stop Bernie Sanders from winning their party’s presidential nomination is preparing to spend nearly $4 million hitting the Vermont senator in the final days before Super Tuesday, the group's executive director told NBC News.

Big Tent Project, which came together in recent weeks as some Democratic donors and operatives grew concerned about Sanders’ strength in Iowa and New Hampshire, has already spent about $1 million in Nevada and South Carolina on ads arguing Sanders is a radical who will lose to President Donald Trump.

Now, the group is quadrupling that amount to run digital ads and send mailers hitting Sanders in Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and California, which all vote Tuesday.

"Big Tent Project is spending nearly $4 million on ads in Super Tuesday states to provide voters with the facts about Bernie Sanders radical record before they vote," said the group’s executive director, Jonathan Kott, a former top aide to West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

One ad, which ran in Nevada and will now run again in Texas in both Spanish and English, accuses Sanders of allowing nuclear waste to be dumped near a poor Latino town in Texas (FactCheck.org calls the ad misleading). 

Another says "socialist Bernie Sanders" would lead to "another four years of Donald Trump."

The group is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, meaning it may never have to disclose its donors.

Trump: Biden's victory should spell end to Bloomberg's 'Joke of a campaign'

NBC News Exit Poll: Blacks, moderates hand Biden a big win in South Carolina

Joe Biden owes his off-the-ropes victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary to the solid support he received from the state’s black, religious and moderate Democrats, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.

Biden was the overwhelming favorite of the state’s black Democrats: He received 60 percent of their votes. His performance among African Americans was far ahead of his nearest rival, Bernie Sanders, who got just 17 percent of the black vote.

NBC News projected Biden the winner as polls closed at 7 p.m. ET.

Biden also garnered the support of about half of voters who called themselves either moderate or conservative, and half of those attending religious services weekly. Biden was also the top choice of South Carolina Democrats who care most about nominating a candidate who “can unite the country”: He received 55 percent of their votes.

 

Biden thanks supporters after win

A first for Biden

 

South Carolina exit polls: More black, moderate voters turn out

Voters in South Carolina’s primary were more diverse and more moderate than those in the first three early-state contests for the Democratic presidential nomination, early results from the NBC News Exit Poll shows.

More than half of those voting in Saturday's primary — 55 percent — identified as African American, a dramatically higher share than in the Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada Democratic presidential contests. Just half of voters said they consider themselves to be liberal, compared to all the previous contests where liberals made up at least six-in-ten voters. And just four-in-ten South Carolina voters said they hold a college degree; by contrast, college graduates were in the majority of the electorates in the first three contests.

Read more on the exit poll results.

Biden wins South Carolina primary

Joe Biden will notch a victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday night, buoyed by strong support from African American voters, NBC News projects.

The double-digit win for Biden, along with the likelihood of collecting many or most of the 54 delegates at stake, gives his campaign a much-needed shot in the arm ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries next week.

NBC News Exit Poll: Black voters want a return to Obama era, whites want to go more liberal

Two out of three black voters in today’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary want the next president to return to Barack Obama’s policies, early results from the NBC News Exit Poll show. The other black voters are split nearly evenly between wanting a more liberal or a more conservative path as compared to Obama’s policies.

For many white Democrats, however, a return to the Obama era isn’t enough: They want a president who will pursue more liberal policies. A plurality of white Democrats in South Carolina, 43 percent, favor a change to more liberal policies. Meanwhile, 34 percent want a return to Obama’s policies. Another 20 percent of white Democrats think the next president should change to more conservative policies.

Election Confessions, South Carolina edition

South Carolina is the last of the early state presidential contests to precede Super Tuesday and also the most diverse among them. The question everyone’s asking heading into Saturday’s election: Which way will it go?

NBC News has asked its readers since last summer to anonymously ‘confess’ what they really think about the presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican.

On Election Confessions, people from across the United States have shared more than 60,000 short ideas about the candidates and the country. Many of those provided their locations (as determined by their internet connection).

Here are some of the more notable confessions from the Palmetto State.

NBC News Exit Poll: More white voters 'angry' with Trump than black voters in South Carolina

"Angry" is the word nearly two out of three white Democrats are using to describe their feelings about the Trump administration as they vote in South Carolina’s presidential primary today, early results from the NBC News Exit Poll show.

Another quarter of white Democrats say they’re dissatisfied with Trump. By contrast, black Democrats’ reactions to the Trump administration are less heated: Just 37 percent say they’re angry, and 46 percent say they’re dissatisfied.