January 26th, 2008
10:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Record turnout for Democrats in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – In a historical shift, South Carolina Democrats turned out in record numbers on Saturday, besting last week's underwhelming Republican vote, which was hampered by bad weather.

In an overwhelmingly red state, that's no small feat.

The state Democratic party estimates that more than 530,000 Democrats turned out for Saturday's primary, as compared with 445,000 voters who showed up to vote last weekend, a marked drop from the Republican record high in 2000.

State party chair Carol Fowler said in a statement that the vote is a "remarkable occurrence."

"Democrats have three excellent candidates who have inspired voters all over South Carolina and our country," she said. "This is a huge rejection of the Republican Party at both the federal and state level."

Fowler also congratulated Barack Obama on his victory and took a shot at the national press covering the race over the last week.

"While the national media focused all their attention on race and gender, an investment was made in the future of our state," she said.

Meanwhile, state Republican party chair Katon Dawson issued his own statement on Obama's victory, calling him "one of history’s most inexperienced presidential candidates."

He also emphasized that the chances of a Democrat winning South Carolina next November are likely small.

“Tonight, I am more confident than ever our party's nominee for president will be overwhelmingly supported in South Carolina no matter who wins over the liberal Democrat primary base,” Dawson said.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: South Carolina
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. independent thinker

    And the record turnout voted for Obama–not Hillary.

    That should tell us something.

    Bye. Bye. Hillary

    January 26, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  2. Emmanuel Silverman

    NO CONCESSION SPEECH FROM HILLARY? what a shameful disrespect
    to all the volunteers and organizers in south carolina. Is she a sore loser?

    January 26, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. Seam, Tampa, FL

    Record turnout for Democrats in South Carolina

    Reason: Barack Obama

    History in the Making.

    January 26, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. debbie

    Does anyone know how many Republicans voted in the Democrat So. Carolina Primary?

    January 26, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  5. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    What happened in South Carolina today says much more than some are giving credit for. The record turnout, the way the victory crossed racial lines, all of it says "YES WE CAN!"
    Obama 08!

    January 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. siscowilliams

    Go Obama, this contest is not about race or gender. It's about change for tis country, that presidet Bush destroyed!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  7. LW

    Obama has just made the primary a popularity contest based on race and nothing more. Issues are ignored. Experience is ignored. All that matters is that a black man is running for president and we're supposed to vote him in on that fact alone.
    He has no policy, he has no plans, he has no experience, he has nothing but words. If elected, his handlers will be in charge just like dumbya's handlers are in charge now. i don't want Sharpton and Jackson running America along with Secretary of State Oprah Winfrey.
    This has become nothing but a battle of race and that is NOT what democracy is about. I'm disgusted, angry and sick of what went on in South Carolina today. The vote was purely along racial lines and hints at a huge rift forming in the party. We don't need a second civil war, we need to presidential race that picks the best candidate, not one that decides based on skin color.
    Obama is not ready to be president, the GOP will eat him alive. Stop favoring one cadidate over the others, it will only lead to your own downfall.

    January 26, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  8. Bob, Florida - RFO

    Excellent victory and a clear sign yet again reference the desire to see change!

    The voice of the people is the strength of America!

    Go Barack '08

    January 26, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. Richard

    Democrats = Average Joe
    Republicans = Corporate America

    My vote is for the dems.

    January 27, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Murry

    Thank you, South Carolina for taking the Democratic into the future. This enthusiastic turnout shows that Barack Obama can beat Republicans in November. Obama won a bigger percentage of white votes than Hillary won of black votes. This plus the Iowa win shows Obama can appeal to whites as well as blacks.

    January 27, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. pj (non-partisan independent)

    hilary didnt give the first concession speech, Bill was on tv campaigning and congratulating before she was... and even the "grown up" edwards mentioned that he joins Bill and Hillary in congratulation Obama.

    though i think Obama needs to spend more time discussing his issues and not just the concept of hope and change, its this same message of the ability to bring america back to respectability that brings out the record numbers and makes him receive more votes than the entire number of voters last year. thats impressive.

    January 27, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  12. Donna

    Emmanuel, I thought I was the only one whoo noticed that. No Thank you's to the volunteers in South Carolina. She defintely looked like a sore loser. Even John Edwards thought enough of the people who helped him to stay and say thank you.
    Very disrespectful behavior.

    January 27, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  13. Jack

    Obama, will not make a good president. Hillary, will make a big come back.

    January 27, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  14. James Brown ( Independent )

    There is a movement in this country that is refreshing to see. Move the Clinton's back to Arkansas , and the Obama's into the White house to bring Integrity into American Politics.

    Change we Can Believe in

    Yes we can

    January 27, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  15. Sal

    NO CONCESSION SPEECH FROM HILLARY? what a shameful disrespect
    to all the volunteers and organizers in south carolina. Is she a sore loser

    Did Obama give any CONCESSION speeches when he lost?

    January 27, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  16. Larry Denman

    There has been no historical shift, if you really analyze the results, since party registration is not required in SC, you will see a higher Democratic vote, and lower Repulican count. The credit for organization goes to the Republicans.

    This will become more obvious when we see that there will be no bounce for the winning candidate as we go into Super Tuesday. The republicans have not been rejected, Karl Rove and the RNC played this state and it people like spinning tops.

    Mr. Fowler should pay very close attention to the statement of Mr. Dawson, because he and all of SC's democrats will most definetly hear it again

    January 27, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  17. Karen, Des Moines

    This is why whoever wins the Democratic nomination should pledge to run in all 50 states as John Edwards has done. And all three should agree to actively campaign for the eventual nominee. If the three of them can bring out more Democrats than all the Republicans still in the race could do in South Carolina, they have an excellent chance of bringing all these voters out again in November. Think of it! No more red states, no more blue states, just the United States voting for a President we can all be proud of. I know John Edwards will stay in the race, and will keep the other two focussed on the things that matter. This is a great time to be a Democrat! The solid South could be melting before our eyes.

    January 27, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  18. Patty

    A nice smile with an intelligent conversation. Well educated and well adjusted to American culture. It's the lies hiding deep in his heart and the knife hiding behind him that we must be concerned about. Killing you with a smile using a weapon or using constitutional law is no different. Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. If you think otherwise, than they probably will hit your home first.

    January 27, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  19. vidiii

    What is so stunning about the South Carolina win for Obama? That was a given. 150, 000 more African-American came out and voted for Obama compared to the 2004 primary according to the analysts. Of course they will vote for their man. They even gave a win for Jessie Jackson. But do you think he can survive outside SC? I am an Asian and I know how minorities react with an African-American as their boss. If he is really that electable why didn't he win in New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada? Next he will be battered in Florida by Tuesday. I am not a racist in fact the first time I came to this country, I defended negative comments about African-Americans among my community members, but as years go by I understand why my fellow Asians and even my Latino friends never had a good score card for African-Americans. I live in California, the most liberal probably among the American states but believe me in my place of work, you do not expect that a silent majority of White Americans doesn't believe that a non-white person will be their boss much more their president. Based on my experience here as an Asian minority, he will never be a nominee. If ever he will, the white democrats will stay home, the Asians and the Latinos, who often sided with democrats will either stay home or vote republican.

    January 27, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |

    SHE HAS WHAT SHE WANTS, THE LEAD IN OVER ALL VOTES. THE CLINTONS HAVE A CUT AND RUN POLICY. On to the next state and run a smoke screen about the lost and a few tears. She is really working hard for these "super deligates" to keep her votes in line. The Clintons are from the old school politics and know the way the school yard. Please let us find some new friend and faces out there. ANYBODY BUT THESE TWO.

    January 27, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  21. Musical Soul

    Politics has seen spins since the evolution of human kind. Yet, we have witnessed once in a while the rise of a leader who has helped change the course of mankind. History has a tendency to repeat itself – maybe we are watching a history in making. Let the best candidate win.... The king is dead, Long Live the King!!!

    January 27, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  22. Michael - from CT

    Well maybe if the majority of the media wasn't so bias against Senator Hillary Clinton and stop injecting race and gender to divide people maybe Hillary would have a fair chance. In my opinion I've been seeing discrimination against Hillary. Even Oprah has divided people which is wrong, I respect her choice to support Senator Obama but she has wrongly used Dr. King's name to divide people in my opinion. When a person goes out to vote it should be about the issues not race or gender. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us an example to follow which is to bring everyone together regardless of race or gender.

    January 27, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  23. JS

    And if Barack DOESN'T get the nomination, will there be a record turnout on 4 November? I doubt it.

    January 27, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  24. Independent Voter

    she congratulated Obama on his win, seems you missed it.

    January 27, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  25. Brett

    Independent thinker...the record vote in South Carolina didn't turn out for a candidate, it showed up for a particular race. Lets just see what happens on Super Tuesday when Senator Obama doesn't have the same opportunity to play his same dirty race card that he did in South Carolina. Oh and by the way, in case you weren't paying any attention, every Democratic caucus/primary has been a record turn-out so for, and both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are now even with wins. Thanks.

    January 27, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
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