The Nevada Democratic caucuses and South Carolina GOP primary were held on Saturday, two contrasting contests both in their procedure and relative importance to the overall race.
In the Palmetto State, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump scored another impressive win by tallying 32.5 percent of the vote in a six-candidate field. The New York real-estate magnate won 44 of South Carolina’s 46 counties.
Marco Rubio finished a distant second with 22.5 percent, but won the two outstanding counties where Trump finished second — Richland and Charleston — the two largest counties by population.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished a close third with 22.3 percent of the vote, just over 1,000 votes shy of Rubio.
Trump held a victory rally in Spartanburg after the race was called by media outlets.
Sen. Rubio gave his post-primary speech in the capital city of Columbia, saying “now practically speaking, it’s down to three [candidates]. And I know that our campaign gives us the best chance, not just to come together, not just to unify our party, but to unify our country.”
Cruz also held a rally in Columbia on Saturday night, distinguishing himself from Rubio by pointing out that “we’re the only campaign that has beaten and can beat Donald Trump.”
Despite the close race for second, Mr. Trump won all 50 “soft pledged” delegates allocated to the state of South Carolina.
The other big news coming out of South Carolina Saturday was the exit of early GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush from the race. With less than eight percent of the vote by the end of the night, there was no reason for ultimate establishment candidate to drag-on a slumping campaign.
The key to Mrs. Clinton’s victory may have been Clark Co., which encompasses Las Vegas, winning there by a count of 55 to 45 percent over Bernie Sanders.
Although Clinton won the delegate battle in the Silver State, pocketing 22 to Sanders’ 16, parts of her victory speech at Caesar’s Palace in the heart of “Sin City” sounded similar to a Bernie Sanders stump speech.
“Let me say this to the men and women who run our country’s corporations,” Clinton exclaimed. “If you cheat your employees, exploit customers, pollute our environment or rip off taxpayers, we are going to hold you accountable.”
Exit polls showed that Sanders won the under-30 vote in Nevada by more than 60 points, while Clinton took the 45-and-over crowd by a count of 66 to 33 percent.
The two rival parties will now switch places as the GOP holds their next contest in Nevada on Tuesday, February 23, while the Democrats head to South Carolina for a primary election on Saturday, February 27.
[The State] [Politico] [The Green Papers] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Getty Images]