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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Joe Biden brought his wounded presidential campaign to South Carolina on Tuesday, staking his hopes for a comeback on the loyalty of black voters in the state after a dismal finish in the New Hampshire primary magnified his disappointing finish in Iowa.
“I know this is going to be the fight of my life,” Biden told about 200 enthusiastic supporters gathered near the South Carolina Capitol to hear the 77-year-old former vice president deliver an emotional appeal. Biden eagerly looked ahead as the nomination fight moves beyond the overwhelmingly white opening states to Nevada, South Carolina and a Super Tuesday slate where African Americans and Latinos will hold considerable sway.
“We just heard from the first two of 50 states. Two of them,” Biden said. “That’s the opening bell, not the closing bell.”
The candidate argued that no Democratic nominee has succeeded without significant support from African Americans, the core of his base in a fractured primary field. The electorate in South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary, the first in the South, is expected to be more than 60% black and could approach 70%, according to state party leaders.
Still, there is no Democratic precedent for the kind of comeback Biden is trying to pull off. No Democrat has claimed the nomination in the modern primary system without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire.
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