Clinton rolls to big win in South Carolina
Hillary Clinton has won South Carolina’s primary by a landslide, giving her a decisive victory in a key state days before Super Tuesday.
The New York Times reported that Clinton lead 74 percent to 26 percent, higher than the final margins in all but six contests during the 2008 Democratic primary.
The Associated Press reports that Clinton walks away from South Carolina with 39 delegates, leaving Sanders with 14.
South Carolina was seen as a test of Clinton’s strength with African-American voters, who were expected to side with her over rival candidate Bernie Sanders.
Clinton has won three of four contests against Sanders, but South Carolina is her biggest win, and support from black voters could carry over to Alabama, Texas, Georgia and a few other states voting on Tuesday. The win is also a significant reversal from 2008, when Clinton lost the state by 28 points to Barack Obama.
Sanders was quick to congratulate Clinton, releasing a statement just after 7 p.m. He noted the results meant both had a single decisive win.
“Let me be clear on one thing tonight. This campaign is just beginning. We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina,” Sanders said. “Now it’s on to Super Tuesday. In just three days, Democrats in 11 states will pick 10 times more pledged delegates on one day than were selected in the four early states so far in this campaign. Our grassroots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won’t stop now.”
Sanders also took a shot at GOP front-runner Donald Trump, stating that “when we come together, and don’t let people like Donald Trump try to divide us, we can create an economy that works for all of us and not just the top 1 percent.”
Clinton came into the race holding an overwhelming polling lead over Sanders in South Carolina.
She worked assiduously to ensure she retained the support of black voters in the face of a major push by Sanders.
MSNBC reported that Clinton won 87 percent of the black vote based on exit polls, beating Obama’s margin with black voters in the state in 2008.
Clinton surrogates repeatedly bashed Sanders’s racial justice record by casting him as a political opportunist whose interest in the issue came after he launched his bid. Clinton also worked to align herself with President Obama, while castigating Sanders for not always standing by the president’s side.
Sanders’s surrogates responded by noting civil rights work throughout his career — former NAACP head Ben Jealous, academic Cornel West, producer Spike Lee and rapper Killer Mike all lent a hand to help boost the Vermont senator’s credibility with black voters.
Clinton also beat Sanders by about 6 percentage points among white voters.
The loss makes it more difficult for Sanders to regain momentum in the near future, as Clinton holds double-digit leads in six of the 11 Super Tuesday states. Those states alone make up a majority of the day’s delegate haul, so Sanders would have to sweep the contested states and pull off at least one major upset to come out of the day ahead.
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