Which Republican Won South Carolina? Trump Shows Commanding Lead
Saturday has been a busy day on the presidential candidate trail for both Democrats and Republicans. Very early results — with 1 percent of precincts reporting at press time — show business mogul Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the top three spots of Saturday's Republican primary, respectively. Which Republican has won South Carolina? Even though polls have just closed across the Palmetto State and with only 1 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press has declared Trump the winner. With more than a third of votes so far, Trump expected to maintain his lead as polling results continue to come in.
It's a fierce battle for Rubio and Cruz and the two senators duke it out for second place in South Carolina, with polls reporting 22.2 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Despite his surge to a surprising second place in the New Hampshire GOP primary, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has fallen to fifth in South Carolina. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is still just barely holding on at a projected fourth place finish, the same as his New Hampshire performance. With his continuing lackluster finishes so far, Bush might have to drop out of the presidential race.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted about a hopeful victory just as the polls closed:
People (pundits) gave me no chance in South Carolina. Now it looks like a possible win. I would be happy with a one vote victory! (HOPE)— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2016
And amazingly, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson is still in this race, even when other candidates who placed better than he did in the New Hampshire primary have already dropped out. This comes just a day after Carson and Cruz held a meeting in a storage closet to discuss campaign tactics.
I humbly ask the people of South Carolina to give me their vote. I'm running for President to empower We the People and save our nation.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) February 20, 2016
As of press time, Carson holds 8 percent of the vote in South Carolina. Seriously... when is this guy going to take a hint? Likewise, the same could be said of Kasich at this point in the race. And yet, the Ohio governor was campaigning in Worcester, Massachusetts Saturday while South Carolina cast their votes.
As polls continue to come in, it's still neck and neck between Rubio and Cruz, with Cruz just barely in the lead by 1 point. With heavy campaigning in South Carolina, Rubio has managed to recover from his near-disastrous fifth place finish in New Hampshire, two spots behind Cruz. Rubio's New Hampshire finish was the result of an embarrassing performance at the Feb. 6 GOP primary when he kept repeating the same talking points over and over, earning him the nickname "RubioBot." The next GOP debate will take place in Houston, Texas — Cruz's home turf — and will air on CNN.
The next stop for Republican candidates on the campaign trail is Nevada ahead of Tuesday's Republican caucus, where 30 delegates are up for grabs. On Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democratic caucus in a close race.