Hillary Clinton Captures South Carolina Democrats

Clinton projected winner in South Carolina primary

Hillary Clinton in Columbia, South Carolina / AP

Hillary Clinton was projected the winner of the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday.

Multiple news outlets called the race for Clinton shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.

Clinton was capturing 74 percent of the vote among primary voters with nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting Saturday night, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) was receiving 26 percent.

Clinton was viewed as the overwhelming favorite to win the primary in South Carolina. A consensus of polls leading up to Saturday showed Clinton beating Sanders among likely primary voters by an average of 27 points.

The results out of South Carolina came one week after Clinton and Sanders faced off in the Democratic caucus in Nevada, where the former secretary of state beat her competitor by 6 points. However, entrance polls indicated that Sanders had won Nevada’s Hispanic voters, which was expected to be a strong group for Clinton. Sanders also did well among young voters in Nevada, as he had in previous voting states.

Entrance polls out of South Carolina indicated that Sanders had also done well among young voters there.

Clinton’s primary season got off to a rocky start. The former secretary of state narrowly beat Sanders in the Iowa Democratic caucus and lost to him by 22 points in New Hampshire. Sanders beat Clinton among almost all demographic groups in the Granite State.

Clinton, a strong favorite for the nomination, has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Sanders, who has built considerable support—especially among younger voters—since he launched his presidential bid in May.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign has been dogged by an FBI investigation into her use of private email at the State Department, scrutiny surrounding her private paid speeches to Wall Street investment firms, and inquiries into the Clinton Foundation, her family charity. Voters have consistently rated Clinton as not honest or trustworthy.

Sanders has focused his criticism on Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, arguing that she is influenced by the millions of dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees she has received from individuals in the financial services industry. Sanders, the New York Times editorial board, and others have called on Clinton to release her Wall Street speech transcripts. Clinton has so far refused those calls.

Clinton’s national lead over Sanders has eroded over a period of months, with some recent polls indicating that the Vermont senator has closed the gap completely.

The next key primary contests will take place on March 1, Super Tuesday, when voters in 12 states and one territory will head to the poll.