Joe Biden hopes to establish himself as the only moderate who can beat Bernie Sanders to the Democratic presidential nomination tomorrow after a stunning win in South Carolina.
The boost for Biden came as Pete Buttigieg pulled out of the race, following his fourth-place finish in the state.
Buttigieg, a 38-year-old Afghanistan war veteran who would have been the first openly gay US president, had sought to unite Democrats, independents and moderate Republican voters
But Buttigieg's tenure as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which ended on January 1, came under persistent scrutiny for a lack of diversity on the city's police force and a fatal shooting of a black resident by a police officer.
He struggled to maintain momentum as the pace of the contests accelerated through demographically diverse Nevada and South Carolina, and he lacked the national profile and long-standing relationships with the black community that helped Mr Biden win South Carolina.
Mr Biden had pulled his campaign back from the brink on Saturday in the southern state, taking every county and winning 48pc of the vote to Mr Sanders's 20pc.
The former vice-president had staked his campaign on victory in South Carolina after fourth, fifth and second place finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, with victory coming thanks to overwhelming support from African-American voters.
The result gives Mr Biden momentum going into Super Tuesday tomorrow, the most important day in the remaining race, when 14 states vote and around a third of delegates - the metric that ultimately determines the winner - are up for grabs.
Mike Bloomberg, who has spent close to half a billion dollars on his campaign, will also be finally on the ballot. (© Daily Telegraph, London)