Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSeven key players for Trump on immigration Spicer: Media coverage of Trump has not been fair Kasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 MORE has won South Carolina’s primary, solidifying his status as the front-runner to win the Republican presidential nomination.
No winner of both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries has lost the nomination.
But the race now is for second place.
With 22 percent of precincts reporting, Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE and Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE are fighting neck-and-neck for second place and third place, while Jeb Bush appears headed for a distant fourth-place finish. The former Florida governor, who bragged that South Carolina was "Bush country," is only 0.3 percentage points ahead of John Kasich, who placed second in New Hampshire and wasn't expected to do well in the Palmetto State.
Cruz and Rubio have been attacking each other fiercely, and now their battle will turn to who is best-positioned to take out Trump.
Expectations will be high for Cruz heading into the Super Tuesday contests on March 1. Cruz has consistently outperformed his standing in the polls and is believed to have the best organization of any candidate in the Deep South.
Rubio has an uphill climb in the fight against Cruz, as Cruz has already won the Iowa caucuses, while Rubio has yet to win a contest. He will have to overcome the notion that he’s merely a media darling and establishment fantasy who has failed to deliver on his potential.
The billionaire businessman scored a huge victory on Saturday. Based on his current margins, Trump is on pace to win all of South Carolina’s 50 delegates, who are awarded statewide and by congressional district.
His victory comes despite defying conventional wisdom at every turn.
Furthermore, at a debate in Greenville last week, Trump trashed the legacy of former President George W. Bush, who remains popular in the state.
But as has become customary, none of those perceived missteps mattered as Trump posted what looks like a runaway victory.
Nevada, where GOP voters will caucus on Tuesday, could be Rubio’s chance to break out. Rubio spent part of his youth in the Silver State and has separated himself from the rest of the establishment pack, which also includes Bush and Kasich.
Bush now has some difficult questions to answer.
He poured significant resources into South Carolina and brought in his big guns in South Carolina — former President Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTop admiral: North Korea crisis is 'worst I've seen' Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record MORE — to no avail.
Bush has the money and the name recognition to go on, but there will be considerable pressure for him to drop out to pave the way for Rubio.
Kasich is charting a course through the Midwest and the Northeast, although few believe that path will take him to the nomination.
Ben Carson appears headed for his second consecutive last place finish and is fighting for relevancy. His fundraising has dried up and the expectation is that he will drop out soon, although he has vowed to carry on.