The evening began with a Hillary Clinton win in Nevada, and as polls closed in South Carolina at 7 p.m. ET, the focus turns to the Republicans.
Can Donald Trump take the Palmetto State as the polls have suggested? Will Jeb Bush finish far behind–and will that mark the end of his campaign?
The networks all determined the GOP race was too close to call as the polls closed.
7:15 p.m. ET: Three Tickets Out of SC? CBS News, like other networks, are pointing to the early exit polling data to suggest the night may end with two tiers of candidates: a top tier (Trump, Cruz, Rubio) continuing on, and a second tier with narrowing options going forward (Bush, Carson, Kasich).
On CBSN, CBS News director of elections Anthony Salvanto said “Trump has a steady, if not large lead, everywhere and that adds up to a win.”
CNN made the call for Trump at 7:38 p.m. ET. “This is a decisive, triumphant win,” said Jake Tapper, noting that the call was made in the first 45 minutes of the polls closing.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) February 21, 2016
If Trump wins all congressional districts here, and it’s looking good, he will get all 50 delegates.MASSIVE blow to the rest of the field. — Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) February 21, 2016
7:45 p.m. ET: Republicans Add Debate The RNC, meanwhile, has added another Republican debate, set for March 21 in Salt Lake City.
8:20 p.m. ET: Carson Speaks Ben Carson addresses supporters, telling them he’s “not going anywhere,” but his second tier status was made brutally clear in this viewer screen shot (left): the dog food commercial got the bigger box on CNN.
8:40 p.m. ET: Jeb Bush bows out. There will be no Bush-Clinton general election. Shortly after CNN’s Mark Preston reported the Bush campaign would end, Jeb Bush told his supporters in South Carolina he would suspend his campaign after a disappointing finish. “I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run,” he said. “But the people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken.”