Hillary Clinton’s commanding win in Beaufort County over runner-up Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reflects a decisive statewide victory Saturday in South Carolina’s Democratic primary.
Statewide, Clinton took 73 percent of the vote, while Sanders had 26 percent, with 93 percent of votes reported at press time Saturday. Clinton won every county in the state.
Beaufort County was a reflection of the statewide results. Clinton won 73 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 26, according to unofficial results released Saturday, with all precincts reporting.
#SCprimary voters are usually good at predicting presidential nominees. Who will we be voting for again this fall?— Jeff Kidd (@insidepages) February 28, 2016
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Clinton supporters in Beaufort County said they hoped to make history, as Clinton would be the first female presidential nominee of a major party if she secures her party’s bid.
“We’ve seen presidential politics from a man’s perspective for long enough,” said Lei Horne-Ferguson, of Beaufort. “I think it’s finally time for a woman.”
Clinton voters also cited their candidate’s experience as a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady while her husband former president Bill Clinton was in office.
“She’s done more than anybody else running,” said Mary Holmes, of Hilton Head. “I’ve always liked the Clintons. Bill Clinton was a good president and I think she’s the most ready to be president.”
Clinton’s win was largely propelled by her support among African-American voters, which traditionally make up more than half of voters both statewide and in Beaufort County.
On Saturday, Clinton won about 84 percent of the black vote, according to exit polls reported in the New York Times.
Unofficial voter turnout Saturday was expected to be about 20 percent of registered voters in the county, compared with last week’s 32 percent in the Republican presidential primary, according Beaufort County elections officials.
Supporters of Sanders said they found the Vermont senator’s ideas refreshing, with his ability to vocalize issues of economic inequality.
Barry Rosen, a 73-year-old Bluffton resident, voted against Clinton, saying he preferred Sanders’ wage equality policies.
“I voted for Sanders because I think his policies on wage equality will give my grandkids a chance at the American Dream I want for them,” said Rosen, a retired museum director.
But Rosen said he would still support Clinton if she were the eventual Democratic nominee for the presidency.
“She would have my enthusiastic support,” Rosen said. “I’d like it to be Bernie, but I would still vote for Hillary over a Republican any day.”
News organizations declared Clinton the winner of the South’s first primary immediately after S.C. polls closed at 7 p.m.
Clinton supporters gathered at the University of South Carolina volleyball center erupted in chants of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” when CNN called the primary.
“We don’t need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great,” said Clinton, criticizing GOP front-runner Donald Trump, the S.C. Republican primary winner, and his campaign slogan during her victory speech. “But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers. We need to show by everything we do that we really are in this together.”
The South Carolina win is Clinton’s third in the first four primary contests. Her only loss came in New Hampshire, which borders Sanders’ home state of Vermont.
Clinton is expected to win the bulk of the 59 delegates from South Carolina. Most of the delegates are split between candidates based on results in South Carolina’s seven congressional districts. Clinton went into the race with support from four of the state’s six super-delegates, who can choose any candidate.
“We tonight have started Hillary Clinton on her way to the White House,” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, an African-American who is the state’s most influential Democratic politician, told the crowd at Clinton’s victory rally.
With an insurmountable deficit, Sanders spent much less time than Clinton in South Carolina last week. He campaigned Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday in Midwestern states that hold primaries next month, including some that cast votes on Tuesday.
In Beaufort County
92 of 92 precincts reporting
- Hillary Clinton: 73.30%
- Bernie Sanders: 26.29%
- Willie Wilson: 0.23%
- Martin O’Malley: 0.18%
In South Carolina
43 of 46 counties reporting
- Hillary Clinton: 73.37%
- Bernie Sanders: 26.09%
- Willie Wilson: 0.35%
- Martin O'Malley: 0.19%