The South Carolina Democratic primary was called for Hillary Clinton by news networks as soon as the polls closed this evening.
Clinton, who had been running far ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the early state, reportedly had only one speech prepared for the evening’s results. And she got that result, delivering her victory speech as just about a quarter of the votes had been counted.
With 99 percent of votes in, Clinton had 73.5 percent to Sanders’ 25.9 percent. She lost the state by nearly 29 percent to Barack Obama in 2008.
Introduced by House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Clinton declared that “when we stand together there is no barrier too big to break.”
“Tomorrow this campaign goes national,” she added. “We are going to compete for every vote in every state; we are not taking anything or anyone for granted.”
Clinton tried to undercut Sanders’ continual reminder that his campaign is funded by small donors and no super PACs, declaring “grassroots donors are powering this campaign… please join us by making a donation.”
She also took a dig at Donald Trump, with a line echoed by President Bill Clinton on the campaign trail this week.
“Despite what you hear we don’t need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great — but we do need to make America whole again,” she said. “Instead of building up walls we need to be tearing down barriers.”
Clinton also quoted “First Corinthians” — perhaps another dig at Trump and his “Two Corinthians” reference at Liberty University, which the GOP front-runner blamed on Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.
Sanders was ready with a concession statement delivered to reporters just a few minutes after polls closed.
“I am very proud of the campaign we ran. I am grateful for the grassroots supporters who took on the political establishment and stood up for working families,” Sanders said.
“Let me be clear on one thing tonight. This campaign is just beginning,” the senator stressed. “We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina. Now it’s on to Super Tuesday. In just three days, Democrats in 11 states will pick 10 times more pledged delegates on one day than were selected in the four early states so far in this campaign. Our grassroots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won’t stop now.”
“When we come together, and don’t let people like Donald Trump try to divide us, we can create an economy that works for all of us and not just the top 1 percent.”
Only 4 percent of delegates have been divvied out to Democratic candidates so far.
Exit polling showed that Clinton crushed Sanders on the African-American vote in South Carolina. Thirty-five percent of Dem voters today were white.
She also fared better in the state on the integrity question than she does in nationwide polls, with 25 percent here saying Clinton was not honest and trustworthy.
Clinton did lose to Bernie among voters who said their top priority was an honest and trustworthy candidate.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the primary was proof of “a race to the extreme left with voters forced to make an impossible choice between one candidate facing an FBI investigation and another that’s a self-proclaimed socialist.”
“This contest was not supposed to be close, yet we’ve seen both candidates pull off blowout victories and it’s clear the longer their race to the far-left drags on, the more unelectable each of these candidates becomes,” Priebus said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich quickly jumped on the South Carolina results, as well, noting the general election poll tracker that shows him faring best in a head-to-head matchup with Clinton.