COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBS/AP) — Donald Trump claimed victory in South Carolina’s Republican primary Saturday, deepening his hold on the GOP presidential field as the contest moves into the South.
Trump’s strong showing in South Carolina marked his second straight victory in the Republican primaries and strengthened his unexpected claim on the Republican nomination. Underscoring the electorate’s frustration with Washington, he was backed by nearly 4 in 10 of those who were angry at the federal government, and a third of those who felt betrayed by politicians in the Republican Party.READ MORE: COVID Reopening: San Jose Sharks Welcoming Fans Back At SAP Center April 26; Testing Or Vaccination Required
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, a pair of freshman senators, were locked in a race for second place. Jeb Bush and other candidates lagged behind.
For both parties, the 2016 election has laid bare voters’ anger with the political establishment and the influence of big money in the political system. The public mood has upended the usual political order, giving Sanders and Trump openings while leaving more traditional candidates scrambling to find their footing.
Trump’s victory comes after a week in which he threatened to sue one rival, accused former President George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq war and even tussled with Pope Francis on immigration. His victory was another sign that the conventional rules of politics often don’t apply to the brash billionaire.
For Cruz, even a second-place finish in South Carolina would be something of a disappointment. The state was his first test of whether his expensive, sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation could overtake Trump in a Southern state, where the electorate is tailor-made for the conservative Texas senator.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Are You Eligible For A Plus-Up Payment?
Florida’s Rubio was hoping a top-tier finish in South Carolina could help establish him as the mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz. Many GOP leaders believe neither Trump nor Cruz could win in the general election.
Rubio scored the endorsements of several prominent South Carolina politicians, including Gov. Nikki Haley, and seemed to have rebounded after a dismal debate performance two weeks ago.
Bush hoped his deep family ties to South Carolina — his brother and father each won two primaries here — would be a lifeline for his struggling campaign. But if Bush was unable to stay close to the leaders, he was sure to face pressure to end his campaign.
Also in the mix was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had low expectations in South Carolina. He was looking toward more moderate states that vote later in March. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson had a small but loyal cadre of followers.
The crowded Republican contest was a contrast to the head-to-head face-off among Democrats. Sanders, backed by a powerful network of small financial donors, has plenty of money to stay in the race for months.MORE NEWS: Shooting In Vallejo Neighborhood Sends 2 Victims To Hospital
Democrats and Republicans will swap locations in the coming days. The GOP holds its caucus in Nevada on Tuesday, while Democrats face off in South Carolina on Feb. 27.