Donald Trump has won the South Carolina primary, Politico reported Saturday night, giving the real estate mogul his second consecutive win and helping seal his status as the Republican front-runner.
With a handful of precincts reporting, The Associated Press called the contest for Trump, who was leading with more than 33 percent of the vote. a poll released earlier this week gave Trump a broad 16-point lead among those likely to vote in the state.
There appears to be a tight race for second place, with Marco Rubio at 22 percent and Ted Cruz at 21 percent.
Trump’s second straight victory adds to his momentum heading into Super Tuesday on March 1, when 12 states vote, many of them in the south. The real estate mogul is quickly positioning himself as the candidate to beat in what may still be a long nomination fight, noted Politico.
Trump, true to form, spent recent days blasting Cruz as dishonest and threatening a lawsuit questioning his U.S. citizenship; and he didn’t back away from his criticism during last Saturday’s GOP debate of George W. Bush, who he blamed for the Iraq war and the 9/11 attacks that happened “on his watch.”
Rubio, who is still hoping to consolidate establishment support behind him and become a clear mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, is looking to finally vanquish Bush in South Carolina, noted the website.
Trump’s victory in South Carolina came shortly after it was announced that Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucus over Bernie Sanders.
Next week, the two parties will flip locations, with the Republicans holding their Nevada primary Tuesday, and the Democrats holding their South Carolina primary next Saturday.