January 26th, 2008
10:21 PM ET
7 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. Vivien CA

    Veronica: Not only did Obama not congratulate Senator Clinton when she won in Nevada, he didn't thank his supporters before skipping town either.

    January 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. AJ, IL

    Veronica Lynne, stop the false Obama-bashing. Obama did call Hillary Clinton and congratulate her. With all the media circus surrounding Hillary Clinton's "comeback" victory in New Hampshire that was the main story of the day.

    January 27, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Aj

    yes he did congratulate Hillary in NH.

    January 27, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Don

    I lot of republicans voted in our SC primary. Does that tell you something? Tells me they are afraid of Clinton and not Obama.

    January 27, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Tom Kirchner

    Hillary claims to have more political experienced than Obama but I don't count sleeping in the White House or state house as valid political experience!

    I'd like to see a woman elected President, but NOT THAT WOMAN!

    January 27, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. 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 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Ryan

    Obama never even spoke after Hillary's Nevada win! Not even a thank you to the people who supported him! So Change is the word of this campaign! So whats Obama's change, all I hear him talk about is the word change with no real definition! Whats his stance on the issues, ya he speaks great, but whats behind is church alter speaking is what I am worried about?

    January 27, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Becky

    Obama never thanked any of his volunteers in Nevada either....

    January 27, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. erika morgan

    Big surprise, the GOP spend, maim and torture, finance their big money contributers at the expense of folks whose disposable income is eaten up elevated gas price, fallen dollar, the doubling of food price! I think a lot of "Republicans" have found themselves a pew in the Independent camp for this go around.

    January 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Tracy

    I'm pretty sure Clinton congratulated Obama and thanked all of her supporters. I don't remember ever hearing congratulations and Clinton in the same sentence from Obama when she won.

    January 27, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Becky Montgomery

    I think it is significant to say that I saw BILL on tv talking and Hillary getting in a car with no comment. Again–who is running?

    I did hear Obama congratulate Hillary in the afore mentioned races. He actually won more delegates in Nevada than she did because he won more COUNTIES. I don't remember hearing her acknowledge that or congratulate him for that.

    January 27, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. DTSC

    That turnout was only to be expected of the big Black vote bloc. With Obama, the blacks came out in droves in this once-in-a-lifetime and very rare chance to get their brother to the White House. It will be a pity for them if Hillary wins in the end.

    January 27, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Ann Jones

    Jesse Jackson won South Carolina also. Obama will not win the nomination or the Presidency. He is not a candidate of change as he pretends, as indicated by the people endorsing him such as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Contrary to what Obama is telling the young people, he will just be a moutpiece for the old establishment. For real change vote for Mike Huckabee, the FairTax candidate.

    January 27, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Bill, Covington,LA

    It appears there isn't anyone out there going to ask the question, so I will.

    Would there have been a record democrat turnout in South Carolina if the obama had not been one of the candidates or if he had been just one more white candidate? Give it some honest thought.

    January 27, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Greg CA

    To Tracy: Obama didn't congratulate Hillary or his supporters before he skipped town after the Nevada caucuses. That sort of thing never occurs to him apparently

    January 27, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. veronica lynne

    No, it has been noted on the newscasts that he did NOT congratulate her on either win.
    My husband and I watched his speeches after each win, and never heard the word "congratulations".

    January 27, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Madar

    Obama , is on the road to white house.

    Go Obama Go.

    January 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Don

    Hillary called Obama and conradulated him. Why does this even matter. As a Clinton volunteer in SC, she showed us much respect and did thank us for fighting a tough fight. I can not speak for Obama, but can tell you many of his supporters in Columbia SC were rude and nasty last night. He won a race he was expected to win. If this is the change we can expect, give me the past.

    January 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Laurie

    My hope is that no American is voting based upon race or gender, but solely upon qualifications.

    January 27, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. ABC-anyone but clinton

    yes obama made concession speeches in both NH & NV. he didn't chicken out and run off to another state once the voting doors closed (ahem, clinton.) shameful!

    January 27, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. G. Boateng

    veronica lynne: Obama did congragulate clinton at Nevada and N. Hampshire. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Billary sucks, Obama RoCkS!!

    January 27, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. TJ

    Why should she congratulate him on winning more delegates in Nevada, when they haven't even been awarded yet. However, she did get more votes than he did.

    January 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Martha

    Don,
    First of all Hillary was rude for thanking you with a written letter. Was she too busy to personally thank the people of SC. Secondly, those rude supporters were S. Carolinians. Seems like HRC was the rude individual, her husband came into your state, told lies after lies, HRC could at least be grown up like Edwards and personally thank his supporters. Bill Clinton came into your state, pointed his finger at the people in SC and left without a thank you.

    January 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Dave. San Diego, CA

    Back in October Hillary was leading in all major polls in South Carolina, by more than 20 percentage points. Leading into yesterday Obama had the lead by 8 percentage points. After all the votes were counted he won by a landslide of 28 points. If you look at the political affiliation of the voters,

    She ignored South Carolina over the past entire week to let her husband do all the campaigning for her and then she shows back up at the last minute? What is that all about?

    Obama has once again attracted 42% of Independent voters over Clinton's 26%. Independents made up 23% of the vote yesterday. Republicans made up 4% of the votes yesterday and Obama got 37% of those compared to Clinton's 20% (with the rest 43% going to John Edwards). – All figures were taken from CNN's exit poll.

    This shows me that Obama is able to reach voters from all ways of life. This is huge for not only Obama but also for the country. This shows that we, as a country, are ready to turn the page from the Bush/Clinton Dynasty. With him reaching voters from all walks of life also shows me that he is not only looking at the immediate (primaries) he is also looking into the future (general) where the Clinton's are attacking him simply to win the nomination, they are looking into the future, only the immediate.

    OBAMA '08

    January 27, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. Michael - Connecticut

    Well perhaps if the majority of the media wasn't so bias against Senator Hillary Clinton and would 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. I think this perhaps has resulted in discrimination against Hillary in South Carolina if you look at the votes. 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. It's a shame more people don't try to follow his example.

    January 27, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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