Former US Vice President Joe Biden decisively won the South Carolina primary on Saturday night.

Biden received over 48% of the votes, with Bernie Sanders coming in second place but with only around 20% of the votes.

Biden’s victory is his first since voting began in the Democratic nominating contest earlier this month. It follows lackluster finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as a distant second-place showing in Nevada last week.

The Associated Press called the race for Biden soon after polls closed at 7:00 p.m. ET.

“Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared this candidacy dead. Now, thanks to all of you, the heart of the Democratic Party, we just won, and we won big because of you. And we are very much alive,” Biden told a raucous crowd in Columbia, S.C, following the win.

“You launched Bill Clinton, Barack Obama to the presidency. Now you’re launching our campaign on the path to defeating Donald Trump. This campaign has taken off,” he added.

“If the Democrats want a nominee who’s a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, join us. We have the option of winning big or losing big. That’s the choice,” continued Biden.

The former vice president and his allies argued heading into Saturday that a victory in South Carolina would effectively act as a reset for his campaign and prove him to be the best candidate to assemble a diverse coalition of voters needed to recapture the White House in November.

With his win in South Carolina, Biden sought to blunt Sanders' momentum in the race.

Sanders' series of wins allowed him to wrestle the front-runner mantle from Biden, who was viewed as the most likely Democratic presidential nominee for most of last year.

A poll released earlier this week showed Biden and Sanders locked in a tight contest in South Carolina, with Biden holding a slight edge over Sanders.