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The Stream: South Carolina and Nevada Go To The Polls

The Stream is your source for news, photos and analysis from NPR's political team on the ground in South Carolina and Nevada. For more coverage and analysis visit NPR Politics or elections.npr.org.

The Stream: South Carolina and Nevada Go To The Polls

  • The view from Nevada after today's Democratic caucuses

    Hillary Clinton speaks to a cheering crowd after winning the Nevada Democratic caucus at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Saturday. Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    Hillary Clinton speaks to a cheering crowd after winning the Nevada Democratic caucus at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Saturday.

    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    For Hillary Clinton, this was her first unqualified victory speech of 2016. And there was a shift in message, with far more emphasis on the word "we" and what the country can do together.

    "Tens of thousands of men and women with kids to raise, bills to pay and dreams that won't die — this is your campaign," Clinton said to a cheering crowd at the Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas.

    Sanders, while conceding defeat, said it can be difficult to take on the establishment.

    "We have come a very long way in nine months. It is clear to me, and I think most observers, that the wind is at our backs," Sanders said to a relatively small crowd in Henderson, Nev. (He spoke well ahead of schedule). "We have the momentum."

    Polls show Clinton with an overwhelming lead in South Carolina, the next state to vote. In the coming days, both candidates are campaigning not just there but in states that will vote March 1. Sanders is now on his way to South Carolina. His campaign also announced a stop in Virginia early next week. Clinton is flying to Houston, where she will give a speech later tonight. Texas is another Super Tuesday state.

    For Clinton and her campaign, the win in Nevada was significant. Sanders had a lot of momentum coming out of New Hampshire, and if he had won Nevada, Clinton would have had a hard case to make on electability.

    One thing worth noting about Nevada: The state Democratic Party estimates that 80,000 people turned out to caucus. That is down from more than 117,000 in 2008. Sanders has described his campaign as a political revolution, but thus far the revolution has failed to boost voter turnout for Democrats. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, Republicans had stronger turnout than Democrats. Nevada Republicans caucus on Tuesday.

    — Tamara Keith

  • Ted Cruz speaks to supporters in South Carolina

    Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz arrives for a South Carolina primary night rally at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

    toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP

    9:55 PM

    After record turnout, Ted Cruz finished in a close third behind Marco Rubio. Speaking to his supporters, he emphasized his conservative credentials calling himself "the only alternative to Donald Trump." Regardless of the spin, this was not the result that the Cruz campaign was hoping for tonight.







  • Supporters celebrate at Trump's rally

    Lingering supporters at Donald Trump's rally after he spoke on Saturday in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Rachel Lushinsky/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Rachel Lushinsky/NPR

    Lingering supporters at Donald Trump's rally after he spoke on Saturday in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

    Rachel Lushinsky/NPR
  • Marco Rubio's Speech

    Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to supporters at a primary night event in Columbia, South Carolina. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

    9:24 PM

    Speaking to supporters in South Carolina, Marco Rubio said, "This country is ready for a new generation of conservatives." Currently running a close second ahead of Ted Cruz, Rubio spoke in inspirational terms that seemed to point to a general election message.








  • Ted Cruz supporters waiting for him to speak

    Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz cheer during a primary night party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, South Carolina. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump's victory speech

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at his election night party in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The New York businessman won the first southern primary decisively. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    8:59 PM

    Donald Trump's victory speech had all the hallmarks of a typical Trump speech. After acknowledging the other candidates, he went on to talk about Mexico, China and police.







  • Jeb Bush suspends his campaign for president

    Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens to a question during a campaign stop at Wade's Restaurant on Friday in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Paul Sancya/AP hide caption

    toggle caption Paul Sancya/AP

    Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens to a question during a campaign stop at Wade's Restaurant on Friday in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

    Paul Sancya/AP

    Jeb Bush had the most on the line tonight. The former Florida governor has leaned heavily on his family connections to carry him in the state, bringing in his brother, former President George W. Bush, and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, this week to campaign for him. But with his disappointing finish despite his heavy spending, seeing the path forward was even murkier.

    Speaking in Columbia, he said, "I congratulate my competitors that are remaining on the island"

    "The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision," the former Florida governor told his supporters gathered in Columbia Saturday night. "So tonight I am suspending my campaign."

    — Jessica Taylor

  • Cruz and Rubio in a dead heat for second in South Carolina

    8:14 PM

    With 25.6 percent of precincts reporting, and the race for second very close, here are a few things to keep in mind:








  • The scene at the Trump party

    8:10 PM

    I've been walking around the crowd here in Spartanburg, mingling with Trump supporters. Several told me they think that Trump's win here in South Carolina solidifies him at the Republican frontrunner and points to likely success in the southern primaries coming up on March 1.

    Alex Eubanks, 26, of Spartanburg, told me he never had any doubt that Trump was going to win. He likes Trump's positions on immigration and foreign policy - and his outsider status.

    Eubanks said he's not a fan of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio: "Career politicians. They're all a bunch of losers."

    As for Trump? "He's not a politician; he's not owned by Goldman Sachs; he doesn't lie; he's not a cheater," Eubanks said. "He's a good guy."

    Ted Molitoris came from Winston Salem, North Carolina just to see the show. He said he hasn't decided for sure whether he'll vote for Trump in his state's primary but added, "I don't like anyone else, so by process of elimination, here we are."

    — Sarah McCammon

  • Donald Trump projected to win the South Carolina Primary

    Supporters for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hold signs during a South Carolina Republican primary night event in Spartanburg, S.C. Paul Sancya/AP hide caption

    toggle caption Paul Sancya/AP

    7:35 PM

    Donald Trump is the projected winner of the South Carolina Republican primary, according to the Associated Press.

    The real estate mogul had long led surveys in the Palmetto State, but the race had tightened in the closing days. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are battling for second place, and the margins between the three top candidates remain in the single digits.

    — Jessica Taylor

  • From the Trump party

    6:58 PM

    The crowd here at the Trump party in Spartanburg is beginning to get excited as more people stream into the ballroom. When Trump's name was mentioned a moment ago on CNN, which is playing in the room, the crowd broke out cheering "Trump! Trump!" On my way in, I met a woman who said she'd traveled here from New York to this event because she's so excited about Trump.

    — Sarah McCammon

  • The Nevada Democratic caucuses did not go entirely smoothly

    6:50 PM

    Confusion reigned at a Reno elementary school that served as the caucus site for several nearby precincts.

    In one precinct, the original head count (108) did not match the combined total of paper ballots cast (112, with Sanders at 66 and Clinton at 46). After arguments, shouting, and phone calls to campaign headquarters and the Nevada Democratic Party, the campaigns agreed to award six delegates to Sanders and four to Clinton.

    Another precinct, near by the first, Clinton supporters were so outnumbered by Sanders backers that Clinton ended up short of 15 percent — the threshold to be considered "viable" and therefore eligible to win delegates.

    — Ben Alder, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento

  • Bernie Sanders spoke to supporters in Nevada

    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks on the day of the Nevada Democratic caucus in Las Vegas. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

    toggle caption Jae C. Hong/AP

    Despite winning the young as well as the Latino vote in Nevada, Bernie Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders referred to his massive gains when speaking to supporters.

    "I just spoke to Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victory here in Nevada. I am very proud of the campaign we ran," he said. "Five weeks ago we were 25 points behind, and we ended up in a very close election."

    — Danielle Kurtzleben

  • Hillary Clinton's victory speech in Nevada

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives on stage for a Nevada Democratic caucus rally in Las Vegas. John Locher/AP hide caption

    toggle caption John Locher/AP

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives on stage for a Nevada Democratic caucus rally in Las Vegas.

    John Locher/AP


    6:18 PM

    "Tens of thousands of men and women with kids to raise, bills to pay, and dreams that won't die — this is your campaign," she told a crowd at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. "And it is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back."

    This makes a second win for the former Secretary of State, along with her razor-thin win in the Iowa caucuses. Sanders, meanwhile, has one win under his belt, handing a stinging 22-point defeat to Clinton in the New Hampshire primary.

    — Danielle Kurtzleben

  • The view from South Carolina

    Spartanburg High School is a polling place in Saturday's South Carolina Republican Primary. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Sarah McCammon/NPR

    Spartanburg High School is a polling place in Saturday's South Carolina Republican Primary.

    Sarah McCammon/NPR

    5:30 PM

    I'm at Spartanburg High School, which is hosting voting for two precincts. So far, most of the people I've met at this site are supporting Trump or Rubio. Trump supporters tell me they really believe he can make the country better, and the Rubio supporters say they are scared of Trump becoming president. I met one Ted Cruz supporter who said he considered voting for Trump, but was ultimately turned off by Trump's rhetoric in town. He said he wants someone who will stand up to Washington.

    Election workers say they have had several hundred people through this site so far today, which is an above-average turnout for this precinct in a presidential primary year.

    — Sarah McCammon

  • From Caesars Palace where Hillary Clinton will speak shortly


    5:21 PM


    Caesars Palace is Clinton country. At the caucus site in the casino's Milano ballroom voters overwhelmingly supported Clinton. The final delegate count was 28 for Hillary Clinton and 12 for Bernie Sanders. The precinct chair did the math on a big poster board at the front of the room with everyone watching.

    It seems Caesars wasn't the only spot that went strongly for Clinton. NPR has called the race for her and Clinton just tweeted her thanks to her supporters.

    — Tamara Keith

  • Hillary Clinton projected to win the Nevada caucuses

    Democratic presidential candidate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton looks on during a "Get Out the Caucus" at the Clark County Government Center on Friday in Las Vegas. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Democratic presidential candidate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton looks on during a "Get Out the Caucus" at the Clark County Government Center on Friday in Las Vegas.

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Clinton leading with 40 percent reporting


  • Here for the party

    A Trump supporter awaits the campaign's post-primary party. Rachel Lushinsky/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Rachel Lushinsky/NPR

    A Trump supporter awaits the campaign's post-primary party.

    Rachel Lushinsky/NPR

    4:40 PM

    Trump supporters are already lining up and waiting in chairs in the hallway of the Marriott outside of the ballroom where tonight's party will be held. The gentleman in the above picture is a veteran VIP and was right outside the doors.

  • Nevadans pick their sides

    Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders cheer on their presidential candidates before entering a caucus site in Las Vegas. John Locher/AP hide caption

    toggle caption John Locher/AP

    Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders cheer on their presidential candidates before entering a caucus site in Las Vegas.

    John Locher/AP
  • Harry Reid goes out to caucus, but won't pick a candidate

    Caucusgoers pick their sides in Henderson, Nevada. Asma Khalid/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Asma Khalid/NPR

    Caucusgoers pick their sides in Henderson, Nevada.

    Asma Khalid/NPR

    3:57 PM

    There were long lines that wrapped around the corner at Del E. Webb Middle School in Henderson, Nevada – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's caucus location.

    Reid has not yet endorsed a candidate in the Democratic race, and as he walked into his caucus site this morning, he said he would remain uncommitted.

    "The reason for that is that everyone knows the caucus setup here in Nevada are my doing," said Reid, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau. "I want to make sure that Clinton and Sanders know that I've been fair. If I got involved on one side or another, it would be easy for them to say, 'You know, he's trying to affect the caucuses unfairly.' So, you know, this is the best way to do it."

    The Democrats allow same-day registration, and Reid has previously suggested a contested fight will be beneficial for Democrats in the November elections.

    Nancy Kim, 33, was in line to switch her party ID. "I was registered as an independent, and I'm changing to Democrat ...cause I don't want to burn my vote."

    Kim says she's eager to support Hillary Clinton. "She's the most qualified candidate," she explained.

    But, the crowd of new voters was mixed. Jin Park, 40, had moved to the Las Vegas area a couple of years from New York, and said he would be caucusing for Sanders because he supports his efforts to get "money out of politics." "I think this country is in need of a change, and Hillary only proposes small, incremental changes," he said.

    (Update: Clinton dominates this precinct.

    Only 3 out of 27 for Bernie. Harry Reid, still uncommitted, jokes to Clinton crowd, "If we get to two to join us, we'll beat them.")

    Asma Khalid

  • The Trump media frenzy begins

    Hours in advance, media trucks are already circling the hotel in Spartanburg, S.C., where Donald Trump will hold his primary-night rally this evening. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Sarah McCammon/NPR

    Hours in advance, media trucks are already circling the hotel in Spartanburg, S.C., where Donald Trump will hold his primary-night rally this evening.

    Sarah McCammon/NPR
  • Voters starting to caucus in Nevada

    Kara Bonham registers to vote for the Democratic caucus at the University of Nevada on Saturday in Reno, Nev. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP hide caption

    toggle caption Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

    Kara Bonham registers to vote for the Democratic caucus at the University of Nevada on Saturday in Reno, Nev.

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
  • Confusion at the Caesar's Palace caucus

    3:39 PM

    There's some confusion here at the Caesar's Palace caucus location. Some people are still registering to vote. They can't caucus until they are registered and get a presidential preference crowd. In order for the voting to begin they have to count the number of eligible caucus goers in the room. An initial count put that number at 278. The precinct chair said that because of confusion he had to count again. The result: 278. Again. — Tamara Keith

  • Protests at S.C. Capitol on primary day

    Protesters commemorate the burning of the South Carolina state capitol in 1865. Don Gonyea/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Don Gonyea/NPR

    Protesters commemorate the burning of the South Carolina state capitol in 1865.

    Don Gonyea/NPR

    3:36 PM

    I took a walk to the South Carolina Capitol this afternoon, as voting continues in the GOP presidential primary across the state today. While there I stumbled upon two separate, very different demonstrations.

    On the front steps of the building an African-American neighborhood organization set up a small loudspeaker and lectern for a series of speeches promoting non-violence. About 100 people stood around listening. Some of the speakers mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement, but organizers stressed that this was not a Black Lives Matters event, it was sponsored the local group known as the Genuine Determination Network.

    At the exact same time, on the west side of the building, another group protested of the removal of the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds last year. Officially, they are commemorating the burning of the Statehouse on February 17, 1865 in the final weeks of the Civil War, saying that removing the flag dishonors those innocent South Carolina civilians killed by Union Army General Sherman's troops that day 151 years ago. Several spectators carried Confederate Flags. The demonstration was quiet and low key. There was no loudspeaker. The audience of less than 20 had to stand close to hear the speakers. — Don Gonyea

  • Casino workers get ready to caucus

    Nevadans line up for the Caesar's Palace caucus Tamara Keith/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption Tamara Keith/NPR

    Nevadans line up for the Caesar's Palace caucus

    Tamara Keith/NPR

    3:01 PM

    Outside the Milano ballroom at Caesar's Palace, casino workers are lined up ready to caucus. It is a raucous scene with Clinton and Sanders supporters chanting and waving signs. Everyone here came straight from work (and most will return to work when the caucus is done) and they are wearing a variety of uniforms from black cocktail dresses to blue housekeeping jackets and white chef's coats.

    Voters I spoke to are excited about exercising democracy and supporting their candidates. — Tamara Keith

  • Goodbye, coin tosses. Hello, drawing cards.

    Winning a delegate could come down to the luck of the draw today in Nevada. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

    toggle caption Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Winning a delegate could come down to the luck of the draw today in Nevada.

    Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    2:36 PM

    The right card can be the difference between winning or losing few thousand dollars in Vegas. It could also be the difference between winning or losing a delegate in today's Nevada caucuses.

    The Nevada Democratic Party sent out guidance on Friday explaining what will happen in the case of a tie — namely, that groups will draw cards.

    "In the rare circumstances where two or more presidential preference groups are tied for the loss or gain of a precinct-level delegate and have the same lowest or highest decimal, groups must draw a single card from a deck of cards to break the tie. High card determines winner," the party wrote.

    If the Nevada contest is as close as the caucuses in Iowa, expect to hear as much fuss over the card-drawing as there was over the coin tosses in the Hawkeye State. — Danielle Kurtzleben

  • Don't have a photo ID? You can still vote today in South Carolina

    1:30 PM

    South Carolinian voters who forget their photo IDs at home today — or who don't even have an ID, period — can still vote.

    That's the message from Chris Whitmire, director of public information and training at the South Carolina State Election Commission. He tried to clear up confusion over the state's voter ID law in an alert sent out Saturday. The short version: while poll managers will ask for photo ID, people without their IDs can still have their votes counted if they show up to their local elections office with ID in hand before Thursday.

    Voters who do not have a photo ID can also vote today, as long as they bring voter registration cards and sign an affidavit.

    Whitmire's full notice is below.

    -----

    ALERT: Voters have reported hearing through some Columbia area media that voters will turned away from the polls if they don't have Photo ID. This is not true. The SEC wants to make sure everyone has accurate information. Please review the attached document for the details on SC's Photo ID law.

    Here's a summary:

    - Poll managers will ask voters to show one of five Photo IDs: SC Drivers License, SC DMV ID, SC Photo Voter Registration Card, Federal Military ID, or US Passport.

    - If you forgot to bring your ID, you can vote a provisional ballot, but you'll have to show your photo ID to the county elections office before certification of the election on Thursday for your vote to count.

    - If you don't have one of the Photo IDs, be sure to bring your non-photo voter registration card with you. This is the paper voter registration card everyone receives when they register to vote. This will allow you to sign an affidavit stating why you couldn't get a Photo ID and allow you to vote a provisional ballot. This ballot WILL count unless someone proves to the Election Board that you submitted a false affidavit.

    - No registered voter in the correct precinct should EVER be turned away without being given the opportunity to vote.

    -----

    Danielle Kurtzleben

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