CONWAY, South Carolina (CNN) – A top backer for John McCain’s presidential bid tells CNN the Arizona senator's campaign is seeking a court order to extend voting in Horry County by one hour, after learning voting machines in this eastern part of the state were malfunctioning on primary day.
State Rep. Tracey Edge, R-Myrtle Beach, said the campaign was trying to find a circuit court judge to issue the ruling.
"We are seeking an order to extend the voting time, because of reported and publicized information that people were turned away from the polls,” Edge said.
All polls in the South Carolina Republican primary are scheduled to close at 7 p.m. ET. Complicating matters for McCain, the county has just one resident circuit court judge, who they have not yet been able to reach. McCain won Horry County when he ran for president in 2000.
The McCain campaign Saturday was telling supporters residing in this county to make sure their vote was counted.
Earlier in the day, Katon Dawson, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, said that he had confidence that the problem would be fixed.
“We expect a full and fair count,” Dawson said in a telephone interview with CNN. “In South Carolina, our citizens take the right to vote very seriously. We have full confidence in our state elections commission, which is running this primary. Any questions that have arisen are being addressed.”
Dawson noted that “there is always a backup in case there is an election machine malfunction and a ballot can’t be cast.”
Lisa Bourcier, public information for Horry County, said that 80 percent of the voting machines were back on-line as of 1:30 p.m. ET.
South Carolina was holding its Republican primary Saturday, a critical contest on the road to the GOP presidential nomination.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) –– Three hours into voting, the South Carolina State Election Commission reports that turnout has been low "across the board" for today's Republican primary here.
"All the reports I've received from various counties is that turnout has been light," said commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. throughout the state, where cold, rainy weather may be a factor in slowing turnout.
But Whitmire said that since state elections are usually held on a Tuesday, it's difficult to discern any pattern.
"On a normal election day, there is a rush in the morning before work, but we don’t have that phenomenon since it’s a Saturday," he said. "It's hard to tell on a Saturday when it's going to be convenient for any one person."
(CNN) – An independent group that supports the public display of the Confederate flag is running ads in South Carolina through Saturday’s Republican primary that praise Mike Huckabee for his stand on the issue and attack his main rivals in the state, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
“Gov. Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner,” says the announcer in one of the one-minute spots, paid for by Americans for the Preservation of American Culture.
“Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He says it’s up to us to decide how. Sen. McCain may have decided that his ancestors, as he puts it, ‘were on the wrong side of history when they wore gray.’ But in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners.”
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - For at least the fourth time in recent weeks, mysterious fliers accusing Mike Huckabee of being too liberal for Republican primary voters have appeared in South Carolina.
This time, they were left on nearly one hundred car windshields outside of Hampton Park Baptist Church in Greenville on Wednesday night.
"Don't be fooled by that smooth voice!" says the flier.
Under the banner, "Mike Huckabee – a 'True' Conservative?" the printout hammers Huckabee on immigration and taxes, and accuses the former Arkansas governor of "lying" about his role in the Wayne Dumond parole controversy.
It quotes a 2005 Arkansas News article that paraphrased Huckabee as saying, "Arkansas needs to make the transition from a traditional Southern state to one that recognizes and cherishes diversity and culture."
"Is something wrong with our Southern Christian culture?" the leaflet asks. [Read it here.]
The fliers are simple 8×10 printouts with bullet points attacking Huckabee's record, with particular focus on the Dumond case.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - The balmy South Carolina campaign trail may be getting unusually frosty for GOP Sen. John McCain as rival Republican strategists offer fresh criticisms of his campaign's tactics.
Over the last week, McCain's South Carolina "Truth Squad" has arranged multiple conference calls to defend its candidate from negative campaigning.
But opponents say his campaign has been exaggerating the attacks against him - taking advantage of the ghosts of 2000 in a bid to win sympathy from the media and voters.
In 2000, McCain was the target of a whisper campaign alleging that he fathered a black child while married to his wife, Cindy. The truth was McCain and his wife had adopted their daughter, Bridget, from Bangladesh.
In 2008, the Arizona senator's staff is "trying to make McCain the victim," said senior Thompson adviser Rich Galen.
"But 'the victim of what?' is, I think, a legitimate question. His victimhood is kind of empty," Galen said.
Click here to read the rest of this story.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
BLUFFTON, South Carolina (CNN) - The morning after his first major primary victory, Republican Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of wins, saying the GOP contest this year was a delegate race.
“I’m not looking for gold stars on my forehead like I was in first grade. I want delegates. I’m pleased that I’ve been able to get delegates,” he said.
“The fact that I came in second in a couple of primaries, I know some people think that’s a devastating thing. Actually, I got delegates,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “And I’m looking to rack up the delegates I need to win the convention.”
The former Massachusetts governor said John McCain was the “clear frontrunner” in South Carolina, and that it would be a big surprise if the Arizona senator failed to win – despite recent polls that show him running just a few points ahead of second-place Mike Huckabee in the state. “This is a state I expect Sen. McCain has pretty well wrapped up,” said Romney.
He also said his campaign – which has spent record sums on television advertising in several early contests – would base its ad decisions on those of his opponents: “if somebody else is spending massively it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put a few drops in that bucket.”
The Romney campaign briefly went dark in South Carolina, as he focused his efforts almost entirely on winning the vote in his home state of Michigan. “I’m going to spend time here to try to strengthen my position,” Romney told reporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, but said Nevada and Florida would also be priorities.
Romney will be spending time later this week in Nevada, whose significant Mormon minority may give him a bit of an edge heading into the Republican caucuses this Saturday, with 31 delegates at stake, not counting the state’s three superdelegates.
– CNN’s Shirley Zilberstein and Rebecca Sinderbrand