Posted: 12:08 am Sunday, February 21st, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
Adding to his momentum in the Republican race for President, Donald Trump won an easy victory in the Palmetto State, while Marco Rubio edged his way past Ted Cruz into second place.
The GOP field also shrank, as Jeb Bush announced he would drop out of the Republican race. He finished far back in fourth.
Here is how did the South Carolina results impact each Republican candidate:
DONALD TRUMP – For Trump, the outcome could not have been much better. He won by 10 percent. His attacks neutered Ted Cruz in a state where Cruz backers thought they could win. Trump is now in a very strong position, with lots of momentum going into Nevada next week and the Super Tuesday states on March 1.
TED CRUZ – This was not a good result for Cruz. Yes, he barely was edged for second by Marco Rubio, but Cruz was not supposed to be in this position. He was the candidate who would win large numbers of evangelical voters and put together a direct challenge to Donald Trump. But it didn’t happen. Instead, the outcome raises all sorts of red flags about Cruz. Maybe there is not room in this race for both Trump and Cruz.
MARCO RUBIO – The endorsement of Rubio by Gov. Nikki Haley may have been what put Rubio over the top and into second place. Rubio not only got to celebrate a better finish than Ted Cruz, but the finish also knocked Jeb Bush out of the GOP race, which may mean a rush of donors and support to Rubio. While New Hampshire was a very bad night for the Florida Senator, South Carolina was very good, though he still must figure out how to stop Trump in March. This race may soon morph into one that involves only Rubio and Trump.
JEB BUSH – This past week was like a slow motion car wreck for Jeb Bush. I saw it with my own eyes in South Carolina. In a state that his father won in 1992 and his brother won in 2000, there was no magic for the former Governor of Florida. Now with Bush out of the race, that should give Marco Rubio the chance to consolidate support against Trump and Cruz.
JOHN KASICH – In the wake of his second place finish in New Hampshire, Kasich had hoped to do better than a distant fifth. His poll numbers bumped up quickly in South Carolina, but then sank back down in recent days, as he barely avoided finishing behind Ben Carson. Kasich is skipping Nevada and will focus on the Super Tuesday states, but in reality, he faces a difficult road forward.
BEN CARSON – After almost taking the week off in New Hampshire, Carson ran a regular campaign in South Carolina. His ads were everywhere on the radio, and it paid off with 7 percent of the vote. But that was still only good for sixth place. Carson says he’s not getting out of the race, as he immediately issued a schedule for campaign events in Nevada. But few see a future.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.