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article imageClinton easily defeats Sanders in South Carolina primary voting

By Nathan Salant     Feb 28, 2016 in Politics
Columbia - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton soundly defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday in the South Carolina primary to take a commanding lead in the surprising race for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination.
Clinton, 68, a former New York senator who is married to ex-President Bill Clinton and was the nation's first lady from 1992-2000, received more than 73 percent of the vote in the first major face-off with Sanders in the heavily populated U.S. south.
The victory propels Clinton to a dynamic position for Tuesday's Super Tuesday voting, in which hundreds of delegates will be chosen in balloting in 11 states, with many in the south, where she is perceived as stronger than the Vermont senator.
"Tomorrow, this campaign goes national," an exultant Clinton said in claiming victory after a campaign that featured both candidates making appeals to minority groups — particularly African-Americans — who make up more than half of South Carolina voters, according to Cable News Network (CNN).
But Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination was in dire need of a major triumph after Sanders breezed to victory in New Hampshire earlier this month.
Clinton also finished first in the Iowa caucuses and won by five percentage points in Nevada.
The scope of Clinton's victory appeared to raise questions for Sanders, who had catapulted into the serious national consideration after winning New Hampshire by 22 points.
But Sanders has yet to show he can tap into the Democratic Party's traditional bloc of minority voters, who appeared to have powered Clinton to victory on Saturday.
Clinton received more than 80 percent of the African-American vote in South Carolina, a higher percentage than Barack Obama, the nation's first and only African-American president, received in 2008.
To be sure, Clinton touted her close relationship with Obama, who nominated her as secretary of state in 2009, met with black leaders and spoke openly about racial issues in South Carolina.
"We also have to face the reality of systemic racism that more than half a century after Rosa Parks sat, and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind," she said.
Clinton also mentioned five African-American mothers whose sons have been killed recently in gun violence, including at the hands of police.
"They have not been broken or embittered, instead they have channeled their sorrow into strategy, and their mourning into a movement. And they are reminding us of something deep and powerful in the American spirit," she said.
Sanders, for his part, congratulated Clinton on the victory but pledged to continue his upstart challenge to the Democratic front-runner.
"Let me be clear on one thing tonight -- this campaign is just beginning," Sanders said from Rochester, Minn., where he went even before the final results were tallied.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose," he said. "Tuesday, over 800 delegates are at stake and we intend to win many, many of them."
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the California Democratic Party convention in San Jose, congratulated Clinton on the victory and said the party had "two great candidates."
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