Mr. Phillips appeared to take his third-place finish on Saturday in stride. “Cracking four digits never felt so good!” he wrote on social media, referring to the roughly 1,400 votes he had at the time. (He finished with some 2,200.) He added: “Congratulations, Mr. President, on a good old fashioned whooping. See you in Michigan.”
Both of Mr. Biden’s challengers appeared infrequently at campaign events in South Carolina, though Ms. Williamson began visiting the state nearly a year ago, and Mr. Phillips made his first trip after joining the race in November.
The Post and Courier reported that at one event last month in Columbia, S.C., staff members with Mr. Phillips’s campaign feared attendance would not be high enough to justify the number of chairs they had set up. They arranged a smaller number in a circle for the 10 people who ultimately showed up. “This feels like a séance,” Mr. Phillips said when he walked into the room.
He put significantly more effort into campaigning in New Hampshire, where he hoped for an upset performance that would have given him momentum in the race. He finished with less than 20 percent of the vote, losing overwhelmingly to Mr. Biden, who was not, in fact, on the ballot.
Still, he beat Ms. Williamson by more than 15 points.