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. Anonymous

    Republicans haven't gotten the opportunity to vote against Hillary yet. We they do, they'll turn out in record numbers just like Democrats.

    January 27, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. V for Vendetta

    Future of Democratic Party is now hobbling.
    Following is a reasonably high probability of things to come.

    Obama & his supporters (Dean, Kerry & Kennedy et. al) have now concretised their base to be: 60% of democrats who are college graduates; 80% of African American men, 50% of African American women.

    Hillary & her supporters (Bill, Spitzer, Rangel, Carter et al) have now concretised their base to be: 65% of registered women democrats; 50% of African American women, 80% of hispanic & asian democrats, 30% of democrats who are college graduates, 60% of registered democrats who are non-college graduates.

    Result: Splintering of Democratic Party in Mar-Apr of this year and with the following Presidential Race make up:

    New Democratic Party: Obama as Pres & Bloomberg as VP
    Republican Party: Romney as Pres & Giuliani as VP
    Old Democratic Party: Clinton as Pres & Rangel as VP or and outside chance that Edwards might also be considered for VP.

    January 27, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Jen

    Just like in Iowa, she leaves without saying thank you to those who DID support her and work for her.
    She's gone and she won't be back!
    It's all about Hillary, not the people!
    Congrats Obama, what an outstanding win!

    January 27, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. gene

    If you take the percentages and apply them to the other nominating states, you will find that Obama will lose. 80+% of a large black vote and 24% of an average white vote, when it is applied to other states {S.C. registered democratic vote is 55%]. Google the percentages for the other states and you will see what I mean. Within that 24% is quite a few young voters, which is good, but also bad. I remember how we got Richard Nixon. The Clinton Haters will be out in full force today. They will rant and rave and be praying for an Obama victory in the primaries. They want him the nominee.

    January 27, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Veronica Ward

    Obama gave concessions speeches every time he lost. Although he only lost by 3%-6%. If I was Hillary and lost by a 28% margin, I would move on as well.

    January 27, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. EntertainMeDontBoreMe

    Does Katon Dawson know how to add? – Almost 295,000 South Carolinians just voted for Obama. McCain and Huckabee COMBINED received the votes of less than 280,000 South Carolinians. South Carolina is going to be sky blue from here on out!

    January 27, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. shamous mc

    Hillary gave somewhat of a concession speech.
    The part I liked best is when she said the difference between a politician and a statesman is that the politician only cares about the next vote whereas the statesman cares about the next generation...and that she is a statesman.
    She said this last night, not in SC but in Nashville, TN.

    January 27, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. sue

    Notice the establishment ALWAYS stands for the Clintons? Favors owed. The System is terribly flawed when the Establishment does not stand with the People choice. Watch. Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos ....ALL AMERICANS will STAND with OBAMA. Let's SEE where those SUPER DELEGATES go....WATCH OUT PEOPLE.....

    AND VOTE!!!!

    OBAMA 2008............and I am a White, 43 year old Woman....America is less racist than the Clintons are betting on. WATCH!!

    January 27, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Susan

    The South Carolina primary vote was also a rejection of Hillary Clinton and her methods. The Clintons are not to be trusted. I would not trust Hillary Clinton with anything that is precious..and what is more precious than our country? Stop the Clinton/Bush dynasty.


    January 27, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. chevyk

    of course as much as HIllary would love to think that these records are being broken because of senator and soon to be president Obama. The Democratic nomination is his.

    January 27, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Vickey

    She congratuled him for the win during her stump speech in Nashville before the official results were completed. She conceded the victory. What more was she supposed to say? She's still in the race. She's still trying to keep her supporters and earn new ones. The rest of her speech was focused on that, as any unvictorious candidate's speech would have been.

    January 27, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. d

    This is such a racial election. Even the media on all of the major talk shows this morning try to tippy-toe around the subject. Let's play fair, no more Michelle, Elizabeth, Oprah or Bill. More debates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's see if Obama is the real man, or just goes on and on with those speeches.

    January 27, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. TB

    Obama won more votes than Clinton and Edwards combined. He received one-fourth of the white vote, and won an overwhelming percentage of the black vote. Among white voters, he scored really well among 18-29. Bottom line, the voters of South Carolina told their fellow southerners, Billary, that they're tired of the politics of the past.

    January 27, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. ES

    Mr. Obama left Nevada before the results were in. I don't remember if he called Hillary to congratulate her. He already showed he was a sore loser in NH. It's very obvious that the black voters of SC who makes up over 50 % of course will rally behind a black candidate. It's also very obvious that Mr. Obama has been quietly using the race card all along and I think we are now seeing the division between black and white voters in the Democratic Party. If this continue, another republican will sit in the WH. The Dems need to choose the most qualified, experienced leader and the strongest nominee with concrete plans to solve our problems, not someone who can only preach with good and inspiring speeches. Lets wake up Americans ...to facts and reality.

    January 27, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Ella

    I am an Obama fan but we must note he did not make any speech when he left Nevada so we cant fault Hllary for that...
    Obama 08...
    We share your vision!!!!

    January 27, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. CHAD

    yes Obama did give a speach after he lost in both NH and Nevada. That is by far the admirable thing to do. If you need to look it up try youtube. Being a sore loser can't help her already sour disposition and her machine driven personality.

    January 27, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Ivan


    Yes he did. I watched his NH speech and I attended his NV speech.

    January 27, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. tony

    yes, he did

    January 27, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. veronica lynne

    Obama never congratulated Hillary when she won New Hampshire.
    He is not perfect.

    January 27, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Jess


    Actually he did.

    January 27, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    She did give a very short speech in which she looked and sounded very tired, old and drained. She gave if from TN. She could not wait to get out of SC. There was one line that congratulated Barack.

    January 27, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Ex Obama Supporter

    Record turn out was not for Obama, but was for anger against Hillary. Blacks were fooled by Obama folks (meaning Media) that Hillary somehow talked about them. So they turned out to vote aganst her.

    American took a step back in this 21st century! So much for Hope (Hatred)!

    January 27, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Dan

    CNN calls this the "crucial South Carolina primary"? How is it crucial? Jesse Jackson won this primary twice and I doubt there's any chance we'll, as Democrats, win any electoral votes here.

    January 27, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Dude

    It's true ... SC will vote republican in the general... so who cares?

    January 27, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. R Shindler, Yoakum, TX

    The record turnout and vote indicates there is one candidate who can energize the electorate. That is what leadership is about. I am a independent who has voted "none of the above" in the past five primary or presidental elections because I did not see this quality in any of the candidate. At this point in time, my batteries are taking a charge and that could indicate its time for change.

    January 27, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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