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. Adrian Davis

    No Concession Speech From Mrs. Clinton, i thought very Strange. seems like the only thing that matters to the Clintons is Winning at any cost. SAD! Go Obama.............

    January 27, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  2. Far Away

    Not just a sore loser Emmanuel, it is a slap in the face of the thousands who supported her. A slap for Rangel and all the rest. I don't know who is advising Hilary, but I love it! They are writing her a sound recipe for failure.

    What a shameful disregard for all the volunteers and organizers in S.C. How are they feeling? What are they thinking? or are they still standing with mouths hanging open?

    January 27, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  3. Vito

    Hillary called Obama so she's not a sore loser. Hillary is higher in delegate numbers. Bye bye Hillary? LOL According to polls, which counts the whole USA, she is up not down. What this tells us is race matters to African Americans and people are not looking at the canidate's records but at their color instead. I for one look at a persons experience over their lack of experience. Hillary'08.

    January 27, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  4. Norbert

    It is interesting to see how hard people try to be politically correct and prefer to live in the La La Land. South Carolina demonstrates RACE trumps loyalty and past record. It is shameful to see how the black people turn their back on a president that worked so hard for equality to align behind skin color. Hey people, let's tell the truth. RACE is at the center of this primary and it will be at the center during the election. Wake up, hope alone does not change reality, feeling good does not solve the problem. OK Obama, I am hopeful, now what??????

    January 27, 2008 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  5. chude ireland

    time to park up hillary!!

    January 27, 2008 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  6. Gavin

    Obama's win seems like it was clearly on Racial Lines...

    You can't win a national presidency like that; what a shame Obama played dirty and marginalized himself and his race...

    January 27, 2008 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  7. Cathy

    AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT ITS BEST- GOD BLESS AMERICA!! AND GOD HELP US ALL! YOU LOSERS... When did OBAM congratulate HILLARY on her WIN in NEVADA. Instead he hid in his room and sent out a 1 second sound bite. At least she had the integrity to congratulate him. But when the shoe is on the other foot, he hides and CRIES like a baby. That's your idol!

    January 27, 2008 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  8. kim j

    She just sent a recorded message yes that is shameful and disrespect to the volunteers. I use to think so high of her but Hil you got me puzzled.

    January 27, 2008 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  9. Mitt

    African American were 55% of the total voters
    Obama gets 81% of African American votes

    How is that shocking?!

    January 27, 2008 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  10. samuel

    This is real indication for general election that if barrak is nominee,with out any questions senator obama will beat the republican nominee.Thank you sentor obama and thank you south carolina for the historical turn out.

    January 27, 2008 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  11. Mark, Wilkes Barre PA

    Hillary believes she is the " HEIR APARRENT " No need for concession speeches to the little people

    January 27, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  12. charlotte

    CNN broke for commerical, during Clintons speech, Opama and Edwards went on and on and on. Take out the yes we can, and what is left? He is no JFK, I don't remember JFK repeating himself over and over. The only thing they have in common is both were good speakers. The debates are the true test, no scripts no prepared speeches. JFK was a master at debates, he never stammered. This next debate will tell the tale. The black vote will not dominate the rest of the country as it did in SC. It's the electorial college that will determine the winner. I might add, JFK did not win the popular vote. JFK was an inspiration, to compare oneself to him is giant leap and an insult.

    January 27, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  13. rick

    okay i don't see what the big deal is here,, obviously black americans feel most comfortable with someone who looks more like them,, just like many white and latinos feel more comfortable with someone that looks like them,, that is not racial but personal preference,, it was not suprising that this would happen just as it was not suprising that it happened in N.H. and Nevada,, nor will it be any different when we look back after super tuesday

    January 27, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Brian

    Yes, yes she is.... those monarchists are not used to losing. 20 yrs is enough. Go Obama!

    January 27, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  15. James

    Wake up Democrats. The record turnout is coming for Obama. He has energized the youth vote to a point that has not been seen in years. If Obama gets the nomination, it would be a record vote for him in the General Election resulting in a mandate from the people for the Democratic ideals.

    If Hillary gets the nomination, there will be a large portion of Democrats that simply won't vote for her. This fact and the fact that the cross overs, independents, and youth vote that Obama received would not transfer to Hillary would result in a very difficult general election for Hillary. If Hillary received the nomination, she would not be able to effectively be president Day 1.

    So decide what you want.


    January 27, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  16. Bert

    A record turn-out is precisely what it takes to defeat scheming and manipulative people. This is exactly what Senator Obama needed. Now if the other states could just follow and show their intellect, as Iowa and South Carolina has done, he'll be looking pretty good going into the convention in August.

    Barack and the decent voters of South Carolina have given Hillary a good firm spanking. It was a spanking that was needed for the terrible way and manner in which she chose to conduct her campaign. Thank God the voters could see through the smoke that she was throwing out. Go Obama!

    January 27, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  17. cora vaughn

    I believe that the voters in South Carolina resisted the media's race baiting. Shame on the media for attempting to make the election about race and not about the issues. I hope now that the campaigners will get back to discussing the issues. Also, I hope that very nasty Bill Clinton will go somewhere and sit down. I believe the voters rejected his negative style of campaigning. He is more of a hindrance to Hillary then a help. People are now calling them "Hillbilly" because they believe the candidate has two heads. Shame on Bill.

    January 27, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. Dorothy

    this is the same state that nominated jesse jackson once? hmmm,,, not a meter of American votes.
    Yes the black vote can go to obama , which is a shame, if obama splits the vote and could pull off getting nominated then what? Think about it, all that does is hand back the white house in novermber to another republican like george bush, we can't afford that as a nation, obama can't get enough backing in november because he has liitle ideas, no real plans and no experience,,, we have a real chance to take back the white house and get the country back on track, but not if we hand it back to the republicanst hrough obama

    January 27, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. Amit

    I think she is
    did u see her speech in IOWA
    I voted for her in SC
    and now think made a mistake.

    Does She thinks she ows us.

    January 27, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. Jon Clough

    As a white New Hampshire Republican, I considered changing my party affiliation for an opportunity to vote for Obama. I decided not to because according to the polls Obama was heade for an easy win.

    Congratulations to the S.C. voters. See....Your vote counts.

    January 27, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. joe


    January 27, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Ryan

    This turnout says less about Hillary, and even Obama, and more about the strength of our party going into November. I am proud of SC and proud to be a democrat.

    January 27, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Marcelo

    independent thinker,

    while I'm ecstatic about Obama's win in south carolina, I don't believe that being negative against Hillary is appropriate. Isn't all this negativity what we need to change? Let's support Obama without putting down other very qualified candidates.


    January 27, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. Glenn

    This man is the best leader. It shows by the way he gets people to follow him from all walks of life. Please study Hilliary's record, she just hasn't done what she has promised, Her & Bill were ineffective leaders the first time. Losing control of both houses of congress. Lets not give back the gains we made.

    January 27, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. joe






    January 27, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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