PRIMARY RESULTS: Trump on top; Rubio edges over Cruz; Bush drops out of race

Trump projected primary winner; Bush drops out of race
Donald Trump (Photo Source: Live 5)
Donald Trump (Photo Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/AP) - Final counts in the South Carolina Republican Primary show Sen. Marco Rubio edged out Sen. Ted Cruz to take second place.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Donald Trump pulled in 239,851 votes, for a total of 33 percent of the votes. Rubio brought in 165,881 votes over Cruz's 164,790 a difference of 1,091 votes, putting the two candidates within less than half a percentage point difference between them.

Jeb Bush suspended his campaign after a fourth place finish, pulling in 57,863 votes or eight percent. A teary-eyed Bush said he is proud of the campaign he ran to unify the country and advocate conservative solutions.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich received 56,206 votes, putting him in fifth place, while Dr. Ben Carson finished in last place with 53,326 votes, or seven percent.

In Spartanburg, Trump thanked his family, supporters and volunteers for his campaign's success in the Palmetto State.

"This is a special state," Trump said. "These are special people."

He also thanked South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, who Trump said he would take any time over the governor, referring to Gov. Nikki Haley who endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio earlier in the week.

The Associated Press projected Trump the winner of the primary within about a half hour of polls closing.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz remain locked in a tight battle for second place for most of the night.

Speaking to supporters in Columbia, Rubio referred to his finish in New Hampshire and speculation that his campaign was in jeopardy.

"To me, South Carolina will always be a place of new beginnings and fresh starts," Rubio said.

Cruz touted his record as he thanked his supporters in Columbia, saying he was the only candidate who could beat Trump and the only candidate who has led the fights against amnesty and Obamacare and the fights to defend life, marriage, religious liberty and the Second Amendment.

Trump was favored to win the primary by numerous polls leading up to Saturday's vote. Some polls showed Trump with a double-digit lead over his five challengers while some polls trimmed that lead down to single digits.

Carson watched the results with supporters in Greenville. The latest Wall Street Journal poll had Carson tied with Kasich for last place.

Earlier on Saturday, Carson tweeted one final plea for South Carolina voters saying, "I humbly ask the people of South Carolina to give me their vote."

Even with a last-place finish, Carson said he is not going anywhere.

Kasich is the only GOP candidate who will not be in South Carolina as the polls close. He spend the day campaigning and meeting voters in Massachusetts and Vermont, trying to get a head start on building momentum for Super Tuesday on March 1. Kasich says he does not expect to win the South Carolina primary but does intend to continue with his campaign.

Kasich's campaign also claimed victory in the so-called "governor's bracket."

Kasich's chief strategist John Weaver says in a statement the race will now be a four-man contest between Kasich, Rubio, Cruz and Trump. His comments are similar to ones he made Saturday morning on a conference call with reporters.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.