Columbia | Controversial Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump today lived up to his front-runner billing by winning big at the South Carolina primary while Democrat Hillary Clinton eked out a crucial victory in Nevada to boost her lacklustre campaign. Trump’s win, following his victory in New Hampshire earlier this month and a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, gives the 69-year-old real estate tycoon a critical burst of momentum heading into Nevada’s Republican caucuses on Tuesday and the slate of 13 states voting on Super Tuesday, March 1.
In another significant development, the Republican presidential pack shrank to five as Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said he is suspending his campaign after a poor showing in South Carolina. Trump’s performance could unnerve the Republican establishment, since South Carolina has sided with the eventual nominee in every GOP presidential race since 1980, apart from 2012. I want to begin by thanking the people of South Carolina. This is a special night, Trump said in a victory speech.
There is nothing easy about running for president, I can tell you. It’s tough, it’s nasty. It’s mean. It’s vicious. It’s beautiful. When you win, it’s beautiful, he told his cheering supporters. His wife, Melania, also made rare public remarks. I want to say congratulations to my husband, she said, noting that he’s been working very hard. A battle for second place was on between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
With 99 per cent of precincts reporting, Rubio is narrowly leading Cruz with just over 22 per cent. Trump leads with 33 per cent. Meanwhile, at the Democratic primary in Nevada, 68-year- old Clinton and her supporters breathed a sigh of relief following a narrow win over Bernie Sanders. With about 88 per cent of precincts reporting, Clinton was at 52.6 percent to 47.4 per cent for Sanders. I am so, so thrilled and so grateful to all of my supporters out there, Clinton told a crowd of cheering supporters in Las Vegas. Some may have doubted us but we never doubted each other.
Clinton’s Nevada win comes just a week-and-a-half after she lost to Bernie Sanders by double-digits in New Hampshire. Her campaign is hoping the win will serve to undercut Sanders’ momentum as they head next into several delegate-heavy contest. Sanders told his supporters he called Clinton to congratulate her. Despite his defeat, he vowed to take his campaign nationwide, notably looking past South Carolina, where Clinton is leading the polls, to a clutch of primaries on March 1.
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