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Hillary Clinton Wins South Carolina Democratic Primary

Former secretary of state earns 73.5 percent of the vote and 39 of the state’s 53 delegates

Hillary Clinton is one step closer to representing the Democratic Party in November’s presidential election.

Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the South Carolina primary on Saturday with the race being called at exactly 7 p.m. ET just as the polls closed. South Carolina offers up 53 Democratic delegates, with an additional six unpledged “superdelegates.”

The former secretary of state won a commanding 73.5 percent of the vote and 39 delegates, according to the Associated Press, while Sanders took 26.0 percent of the vote and earned 14 delegates.

Eight years ago, Clinton lost to then-Illinois senator Barack Obama by a more than 2-to-1 margin during the S.C. primary.

South Carolina has a unique open primary, meaning you do not have to be a registered Democrat to vote in the election. However, Republicans who voted in the GOP primary can’t also vote for a Democratic candidate.

CNN’s exit poll showed that the most important issue among Saturday’s voters was the economy, with 43 percent. Health care was second with 23 percent, followed by income inequality with 20 percent and terrorism with 10 percent.

The CNN exit poll also revealed that 35 percent of voters had at least some college education, with 22 percent not educated past high school. Meanwhile, a whopping 70 percent of voters told CNN they want the next president to continue Obama’s policies.

Clinton brings momentum into the crucial Super Tuesday on March 1 when at least 11 states head to the polls and 865 Democratic delegates are in contention (as well as 150 superdelegates). Candidates need 2,383 delegates to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

CNN will host a Democratic debate next Sunday.