Clinton claimed 77.5% of the vote to Sanders’ 21.9%, with 14% of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
“Tomorrow, this campaign goes national,” Clinton said Saturday night at her victory celebration in Columbia, S.C. “We are going to compete for every vote in every state: We are not taking anything and we are not taking anyone for granted.”
Clinton had long been expected to prevail in the state where she enjoyed a bedrock of support thanks to a strong base of African-American voters with affection for the former first lady and President Bill Clinton. A total of 53 delegates are available in the South Carolina Democratic contest. Donald Trump won South Carolina’s Republican primary vote held on Feb. 20.
The outcome of Saturday’s vote was seen as so secure that Clinton and Sanders didn’t spend much time campaigning in the Palmetto state on Saturday. Both turned their attention to more contested areas up for grabs in just three days on Super Tuesday. The 11 states heading to the polls Tuesday include Sanders’ home base of Vermont.
Sanders on Saturday night issued a statement congratulating Clinton on her win but vowed to keep driving hard through Super Tuesday.
Pundits have predicted that Super Tuesday will be the end of the line for Sanders’ quixotic presidential bid. The liberal Democratic socialist proved a bigger draw for Democratic voters, particularly younger voters, than anyone could have predicted at the outset of his campaign last year.
Sanders gained momentum coming out of his big win in New Hampshire earlier this month, and he made a respectable second-place showing against Clinton in last week’s Nevada caucus. Recent national polls have shown Clinton leading Sanders by a slim margin among Democratic voters. However, the South Carolina primary was seen as a test of his appeal versus Clinton in a state with a more diverse electorate.
Nonetheless, Sanders gave no hint of quitting in his statement.
“In just three days, Democrats in 11 states will pick 10 times more pledged delegates on one day than were selected in the four early states so far in this campaign,” Sanders said, “Our grassroots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won’t stop now.”
Clinton spent most of Saturday campaigning in Alabama before returning to S.C. for a victory lap. She’s scheduled to head out Sunday for a whirlwind of rallies and speeches in Pine Bluff, Ark. and Nashville followed by a fundraiser in Miami.
Sanders spent most of Saturday in Texas, holding rallies in Austin and Dallas before moving on to Rochester, Minn. He’s scheduled for events in Oklahoma City and Fort Collins, Colo., on Sunday.
Although polls have predicted for more than a week that Clinton would easily beat Sanders in South Carolina, Sanders’ campaign didn’t give up on courting the state’s younger voters. On Saturday, the Sanders campaign distributed a get-out-the-vote message from Atlanta-based hip-hop star Killer Mike via social media.