Flickr user taedc
Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire earlier this month
Just one week after Donald Trump claimed victory in the South Carolina Republican primary, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders are set to square off to see who will take the state for the Democrats.
Taking a decisive win with more than 32 percent of the vote, Trump proved why he was so heavily favored leading up to the primary. Finishing 10 points behind the Republican frontrunner were Sen. Marco Rubio, who earned Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement, and Sen. Ted Cruz. Rubio earned a narrow second-place finish, just edging out Cruz by a mere 0.2 percent of the vote, but South Carolina clearly belongs to Trump.
“Well, I want to begin by thanking the people of South Carolina. This is a special state. Thank you,” Trump said at the opening of his victory speech in Spartanburg, S.C., before thanking state Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster for his endorsement. “We have a wonderful lieutenant governor who backed us very early in the process. You know Henry, right? The lieutenant governor of South Carolina. I will take him over the governor anytime because we won.”
Leading up to the Democractic primary on Sat. Feb. 27, former Secretary of State Clinton remains the favorite in South Carolina, even following Sanders’ major win in New Hampshire.
Flickr user Gage Skidmore
Bernie Sanders campaigns in New Hampshire
“Obviously, Bernie Sanders had a huge day in the New Hampshire primary. To win pretty much in every category, he even had a 10-point lead among women. It was a top-to-bottom, very solid performance,” says Gibbs Knotts, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the College of Charleston. “I just have to say though, New Hampshire’s a very different state. It’s not very diverse in terms of racial diversity, and Bernie Sanders is from a neighboring state. I think that as impressive as the New Hampshire results were, we have to take them with a little bit of a grain of salt and some perspective. I do expect Hillary Clinton on the democratic side to do very well in South Carolina.”
Fresh off a win in the Nevada caucus, where Clinton claimed 52.6 percent of votes, it appears that the primary race in South Carolina is hers to lose leading up to Saturday. While the Sanders ground team has a few more days to drum up support here in Palmetto State, the Vermont senator faces steep opposition.
“I don’t think it’s that [Sanders] is not connecting, so much that the Clintons have a very long history in South Carolina. They’ve been here twice with Bill. They were here in ’08 with Hillary. They have people and elected officials, ministers, and community leaders that go back literally decades,” says Brady Quirk-Garvan, chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. “I think that there is a deep relationship between the Clintons and South Carolina, and I think partly because of that there are many people who say, ‘That’s who our candidate is.’ Bernie Sanders obviously has a network here in South Carolina and is growing that, but a lot of that is still him introducing himself to voters.”