The Latest: Clinton collects 39 delegates with SC victory

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Posted: Feb 27, 2016 10:09 PM
The Latest: Clinton collects 39 delegates with SC victory

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential race, with attention focused on the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's South Carolina win has given her a solid lead in The Associated Press delegate count.

With 53 delegates at stake, Clinton gained 39 delegates. Bernie Sanders picked up just 14.

Including superdelegates, the AP count shows that Clinton now has a total of 544 delegates and Sanders has 85.

It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

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9:30 p.m.

Bernie Sanders is telling reporters after landing in Minnesota that "in politics on a given night, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tonight we lost."

Sanders is congratulating Hillary Clinton "on a very strong victory" in the South Carolina primary. He notes that more than 800 delegates are at stake in 11 contests on Super Tuesday and says, "We intend to win many, many of them."

Sanders is speaking Saturday night to supporters in Rochester, Minnesota. The state holds its caucuses on Tuesday and is among those Sanders is targeting for victory.

8:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's sweeping South Carolina victory suggests voters in the state put aside any lingering tensions from her heated 2008 contest with Barack Obama.

In 2008, former President Bill Clinton made statements during the campaign that were seen by some, including influential South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, as questioning the legitimacy of the black presidential contender.

This time around, Clyburn endorsed Hillary Clinton, and her husband was well-received as he traveled the state on her behalf. She focused on issues with particular resonance in the black community and held an emotional event with black mothers whose children died in shootings. She won overwhelming support from black voters in the primary Saturday.

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8:45 p.m.

After her big victory, Hillary Clinton has won at least 37 delegates in South Carolina. Bernie Sanders has gained at least 12.

Four delegates remain to be allocated in four congressional districts.

Including superdelegates, the party insiders who can back a candidate of their choice, Clinton holds a much bigger advantage.

She now has 542 delegates, according to AP's count. Sanders has at least 83.

It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

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8:30 p.m.

Updated exit polling from the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary indicates Hillary Clinton won a large majority of black voters, most women and voters 25 and older. She was backed by both highly educated voters and those without a college degree, by those with high household incomes and the less affluent.

Rival Bernie Sanders was supported by voters under 25 and those who identified themselves as independent.

In earlier contests, liberals tended to support Sanders. But in South Carolina, Clinton received a majority regardless of ideology: she got 7 in 10 liberals — including those who consider themselves very liberal — 7 in 10 conservatives, and 8 in 10 moderates.

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7:50 p.m.

The Democratic front-runner is taking a swipe at the Republican one.

In her South Carolina victory speech, Democratic contender Hillary Clinton said America does not need to be made great again, because "America has never stopped being great." She said America needs to be made "whole again."

In addition to keying off of Donald Trump's slogan, Clinton denounced the idea of building a wall, as Trump wants to do along the Mexican border. She says the country needs to be tearing down barriers, to equality and opportunity.

Clinton was speaking at her victory rally after scoring a commanding win in the South Carolina Democratic primary.

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7:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is relishing her big South Carolina win.

She's telling her victory rally that "tomorrow this campaign goes national" as she and rival Bernie Sanders compete for the Super Tuesday states.

To cheers, Clinton said: "When we stand together there is no barrier too big to break."

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7:25 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's victory in South Carolina means she will pick up most of the state's delegates, widening her overall lead in AP's delegate count.

With 53 delegates at stake, Clinton will receive at least 31. Bernie Sanders will pick up at least 12.

Clinton already holds a large lead among superdelegates, the party leaders and members of Congress who can support any candidate. Including superdelegates, Clinton now has at least 536 delegates, according to AP's count. Sanders has at least 83.

It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

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7:20 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is congratulating Hillary Clinton on her victory in South Carolina. But he says the campaign is just beginning.

Sanders notes that he won a "decisive victory" in New Hampshire and she did the same in South Carolina.

Now it's on to Super Tuesday, he says. Sanders says his "grassroots political revolution is growing state by state," and he "won't stop now."

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7:15 p.m.

Marco Rubio says he can win the Republican nomination outright, and not at a contested Republican National Convention. The reason? He says voters will begin to see that GOP front-runner Donald Trump is a "con man."

Rubio told reporters Saturday that he can't see Trump winning the 1,237 delegates required to achieve the Republican presidential nomination. It might take time, but Rubio says he will win the required delegates as his message begins to sink in.

He says of voters, "They're just starting to learn."

And he adds: "They are going to realize this guy's been swindling us here."

But Rubio is also conceding the challenges he faces in next week's Super Tuesday contests. He says of Trump, "He's going to start to lose support, maybe not in time for Tuesday, but certainly in time for all states."

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7:10 p.m.

Moments after she clinched a win in the South Carolina Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton tweeted: "To South Carolina, to the volunteers at the heart of our campaign, to the supporters who power it: thank you."

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7:05 p.m.

In the South Carolina Democratic primary won by Hillary Clinton, about 6 in 10 voters were black. And more than 8 in 10 black voters were supporting her over Bernie Sanders. That's according to exit polls.

Black primary voters were more likely to say they trust Clinton than Bernie Sanders to handle race relations, 45 percent to 6 percent. An additional 44 percent said they trust both.

Among all Democratic primary voters Saturday, 8 in 10 said race relations were important to their vote. Among black primary voters, a third said it was the most important issue to them.

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7 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina. She won the overwhelming support of black voters on her way to a commanding victory over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The win for Clinton is her third in the first four contests of the 2016 campaign. And it gives her a blowout to match Sanders' dominating triumph in New Hampshire.

Early results of exit polls taken for The Associated Press and television networks find that Clinton won the support of 8 in 10 African-Americans, who made up the majority of voters in Saturday's primary.

That bodes well for Clinton headed into Super Tuesday contests across the South, where several states are home to large populations of black voters.

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7 p.m.

Early exit poll results in South Carolina's Democratic primary suggest Hillary Clinton won a large majority of blacks, most women and voters aged 30 and older.

Bernie Sanders was backed by voters under 30, those who identified themselves as independent and most whites.

Clinton was supported by both highly educated voters and those without a college degree, by those with high household incomes and the less affluent.

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6:15 p.m.

Bernie Sanders has some sharp words for Hillary Clinton as she resists releasing transcripts of her paid speeches to big banks.

He spoke before about 7,000 people in Grand Prairie, Texas, near Dallas, on Saturday, as people in South Carolina voted in their state's Democratic primary.

Sanders says: "If you're going to give speeches behind closed doors to Wall Street groups like Goldman Sachs and if you're going to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for that speech, it must be a great speech and you want to share it with the American people."

Clinton has said she'll share transcripts of her lucrative speeches when other candidates do the same. Sanders drew applause when he said: "I'm making my transcripts available. There are none."

Sanders predicts he'll have a surprise showing Tuesday in Texas, the largest of the Super Tuesday states voting.

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5:50 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump spent much of his time at a rally in Arkansas explaining the lawsuits facing the now-defunct Trump University. Former students say the school ripped them off.

He says the litigation "is a small deal, very small" and told supporters he could have settled, but is continuing to fight on principle.

Trump also railed against the California judge presiding over the civil suit, calling him hostile and noting his Hispanic ethnicity.

Trump said of the judge: "I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He's Hispanic — which is fine."

Polling suggests Trump is deeply unpopular with Hispanics.

A message left for U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was not immediately returned.

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5:45 p.m.

Black voters may make up an even bigger share of the electorate in the South Carolina Democratic primary than they did in 2008, when Barack Obama was running. Early exit polls in the contest Saturday suggest about 6 in 10 voters are black.

In the surveys, nearly half of voters — whether black or white — say racial relations have deteriorated in the last few years. Voters in South Carolina are more worried about jobs and the economy than people who voted in previous Democratic contests.

Income inequality, though, is less of a worry in South Carolina than it has been elsewhere. That issue is the centerpiece of Bernie Sanders' campaign against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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5:30 p.m.

Marco Rubio has released summaries of his last five years of tax filings, revealing him to be a candidate with a senator's steady annual income of $176,000 who reaped repeated windfalls from book deals.

During his first four years in the Senate, Rubio and his wife Jeanette together earned an average of $531,000 a year.

Since winning election to an office in Washington, Rubio's income has ranged from $276,059 to $938,963, and he has paid between $46,500 and $254,894 in federal income tax.

Most of the income came from a business that collected royalties on two books, which was disclosed on Rubio's personal Senate financial disclosures.

In 2012, his most lucrative year, his effective tax rate topped out at a little more than 31 percent.

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4 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says he is ready to take on Donald Trump.

Speaking Saturday to about 10,000 people at a Formula One racetrack near Austin, Texas, the Vermont senator says he can defeat Trump soundly if he and Trump are the presidential candidates in the fall.

The Democratic presidential contender says Trump is wrong on issues such as the minimum wage, climate change and tax policy.

And Sanders says Americans don't want a president who insults pretty much everyone who's not like him.

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3:15 p.m.

It's been a rough few days for the body parts of the Republican presidential candidates.

Since the explosive debate Thursday night, Marco Rubio has had bad things to say about Donald Trump's face, skin and bladder.

Trump has gone after Rubio's ears.

Ted Cruz has largely limited himself to the usual target, Trump's head of hair, fessing up to the urge on stage to reach over and ruffle it. But Cruz has also questioned Trump's mouth, for swearing so much.

Rubio said Trump used makeup to cover a "sweat mustache" in the debate. And he said Trump used a mirror backstage "maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet."

Trump said it looked like Rubio put on makeup with a trowel, perhaps to cover his ears.

On Saturday, Rubio went after Trump's tan and said he should "sue whoever did that to his face."

They've also been questioning each other's positions on issues.

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1:55 p.m.

Chris Christie is quickly becoming one of Donald Trump's most effective supporters, dishing up attack lines against Trump's rivals with glee.

The New Jersey governor joined Trump at a rally in northwestern Arkansas on Saturday, a day after offering his surprise endorsement.

The pair arrived aboard Trump's jet and dramatically descended the plane together as soaring music played.

Christie repeatedly criticized Trump's top target, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, calling him a no-show senator for skipping votes and committee hearings.

Christie says that being president isn't a no-show job, so Rubio's "not qualified."

Christie also talked up Trump's life story, saying the billionaire businessman had turned his father's real estate holdings in Queens, New York, into a fortune.

He says Trump "wants to bring the American dream back to every American family."

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1:50 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is contrasting her foreign policy experience with that of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Speaking at a university gym in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday afternoon, Clinton warns voters that the U.S. president becomes the leader of the free world.

She says, "When you run for president it's not just Americans who pay attention. The entire world listens to every word you say. Markets rise and fall, conflicts go forward or retreat."

She adds: "You do have to be careful about what you say and how you say it."

While Clinton never mentioned Trump by name, the comments were clearly aimed at the billionaire businessman. Clinton says he "spends half his time insulting" much of the world.

Clinton is campaigning in the southern state before the March 1 primary.

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2:35 p.m.

Can't these guys just get along?

There's Marco Rubio hitting below the belt — well, actually, above, too — when he says Donald Trump has "the worst spray tan in America."

Trump says Rubio has "a fresh mouth" and is a "light, little nothing."

The animosity seems real and raw as the Republican presidential candidates campaign in some of the states that will be voting Tuesday.

And Ted Cruz simply says, "If we nominate Donald, we'd end up election Hillary as president."

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic front-runner.

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2:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has greeted supporters at a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, called at Yo' Mama's.

The Democratic presidential candidate is turning her focus to Alabama and other Super Tuesday states on a day when South Carolina Democrats hold their party primary.

Her campaign is banking on Southern states to rack up delegates and expand her lead against Bernie Sanders in the race for the nomination.

The restaurant pays employees above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and is supporting an attempt by the city's mayor to raise the rate — an effort Clinton endorsed.

She's proposed raising the minimum wage nationwide to $12.

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2 p.m.

Lauren Marsh says it's been some time since she's voted for a Democrat.

But she did just that Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina, going with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.

Why?

The debates made the difference for the 27-year-old independent who's voted for Republicans before but skipped Tuesday's GOP primary.

She says the mudslinging Republican debate Thursday was like "the Jerry Springer show" while the Democrats, as she put it, have been "mentally concise" in their debates.

Overall, Marsh bemoans the divisiveness in politics, even in her neighborhood. She says Americans don't seem united about anything and that's "pretty depressing."

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1:20 p.m.

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is endorsing Ohio Gov. John Kasich's presidential campaign.

Gonzales is now the dean of Belmont University's law school. He introduced Kasich at a rally in Nashville on Saturday as "not someone who's apologetic about the United States."

Gonzales was White House counsel to President George W. Bush before becoming the nation's first Hispanic attorney general in 2005. He resigned amid an uproar over allegations of torture of terrorism suspects and controversy over politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys.

Gonzales acknowledged that Kasich needs to make up ground in the campaign, but says the governor leads the race in "faith and freedom."

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12:35 p.m.

The bickering Republicans presidential candidates are trying to figure out how to cash in on the largest single-day haul of delegates in the race.

At stake on Super Tuesday are 595 delegates in 11 states.

Ted Cruz tells supporters in Atlanta to help him play the numbers game as he takes on front-runner Donald Trump and rival Marco Rubio.

The Texas senator wants backers "to vote for me 10 times," but he's isn't suggesting voter fraud — "we're not Democrats," he jokes.

He's appealing for each supporter to get nine others to vote for him Tuesday.

Cruz calls Super Tuesday "the most important day in this entire election cycle" and says turnout is key.

He says if Republicans nominate Trump, 'we'd end up electing" Democrat Hillary Clinton as president.

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12:15 p.m.

Aspiring first lady Jane Sanders says the Bernie Sanders campaign is looking to Super Tuesday when "I think we'll split the vote."

Expecting a loss in the South Carolina primary, the Vermont senator flew to Texas on Saturday morning and was heading to Minnesota later in the day. Jane Sanders, Bernie Sanders' wife and one of his top campaign advisers, says that South Carolina voting has already started and the campaign has to focus on March 1, when 12 states will cast ballots.

Jane Sanders says they were hoping for a "good showing" in South Carolina. She adds that it has been hard for people to get to know Bernie Sanders there, noting: "the media didn't cover him from May to December. There was nothing in the national media. So of course the South didn't know him."

Still, Jane Sanders says the campaign is feeling good.

"We always knew where we would do well and where we would not do so well," she said. "It's a 50-state election, and we're feeling very confident, actually."

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11:25 a.m.

South Carolina voter Robert Bennett Terry says Democrat Hillary Clinton can beat Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election — but Democrat Bernie Sanders can't.

So who got Terry's vote in the state's Democratic primary on Saturday?

Sanders.

The special education teacher from Mount Pleasant says he wanted to send "a strong message" that many people "are hurting."

He says Sanders is someone "who will bring change to all the people who need change in this great nation of ours."

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11:05 a.m.

"She'll say anything to get votes."

That's what a University of South Carolina professor says about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on primary day in the state.

Birgitta Johnson says candidate Bernie Sanders' stances on education appealed to her. She says Sanders "deals with structural issues rather than talking points" on education and other issues.

Johnson thinks Clinton is saying the same things as she did when she campaigned against Barack Obama in 2008 — and lost the primary.

Johnson — who voted at a recreational center in suburban Columbia — is concerned about her students and the cost of higher education. She says some of her students have had to quit because they're trying to go to school while working one or more jobs.

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10:45 a.m.

Hillary Clinton hopes a second chance in South Carolina will mean a first.

In 2008, she lost by a wide margin to Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary.

On Saturday, Clinton is banking on a first-place finish to give her even more momentum heading into the Super Tuesday contests next week.

Eight years ago, former President Bill Clinton was viewed by some as questioning the legitimacy of the black presidential contender — Obama.

Today, South Carolina voters appear ready to forgive.

Bill Clinton has been well-received in the state and Hillary Clinton has won the endorsement of James Clyburn, the influential black congressman who stayed neutral in the 2008 primary.

According to exit polls, black voters made up 55 percent of the electorate in the 2008 primary.

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8:20 a.m.

It may be election Saturday in South Carolina, but the Democratic candidates for president already have Tuesday on their mind.

That's when 11 states and American Samoa hold nominating contests in the 2016 race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton is stopping in Alabama on Saturday before heading to Columbia, the South Carolina capital, for an election party. Polls are closing at 7 p.m.

Sanders isn't even scheduled to put in any South Carolina appearances on Saturday. He's supposed to be in Texas and Minnesota, two of the Super Tuesday states.

He knows his prospects with South Carolina's heavily black Democratic electorate aren't great.

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8:05 a.m.

Voting is underway in South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary, and Hillary Clinton is looking for a big victory — and to win big over rival Bernie Sanders.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close 12 hours later, at 7 p.m.

The candidates won't have much time for a breather after their party's first-in-the-South contest. Next up: Super Tuesday. That's when Democrats will vote in 11 states and American Samoa, with hundreds of delegates up for grabs.