Donald Trump wins South Carolina primary

Donald Trump has won the Republican primary in South Carolina.

With less than 1 percent of precincts reporting, Trump holds a 10 point lead over his closest challengers, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). 

Cruz and Rubio are currently just a few votes apart.

Trump, who won the New Hampshire primary earlier this month, came into South Carolina strong, holding an average 13 point lead over Cruz and Rubio, who each enjoyed 18 percent support in the polls. 

Coming into Saturday’s vote, Trump stirred up yet another controversy after responding strongly to Pope Francis‘ comments suggesting that Trump is “not Christian” due to his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. 

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy,” Trump said in a statement, “I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”

Trump was also recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The results of South Carolina’s primary are likely the most consequential for Jeb Bush, who staked his campaign on success in the state. While Bush entered the 2016 election as the presumptive frontrunner thanks to his well-funded super PAC, his low support in South Carolina puts pressure on the former Florida governor to exit the race.

Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, is also on shaky ground as his campaign’s funding dwindles.

The Republican candidates now head into March 1—Super Tuesday—when 12 states and American Samoa will hold their votes.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.