Clinton wins S.C. Democratic primary

VIDEO: Clinton celebrates S.C. primary victory, Sanders supporters remain optimistic

CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WCSC) - Democrat Hillary Clinton saw decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in Saturday's South Carolina  Democratic primary, giving her a boost of confidence ahead of Super Tuesday.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, 73 percent of voters chose Clinton. Sanders garnered 26 percent of the vote.

Willie Wilson had 1,321 votes, making up for less than one percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who suspended his campaign on Feb. 1, was still listed on the ballot and pulled in 714 votes.

Clinton, Sanders and Wilson were competing for the 53 delegates in the Palmetto State. Clinton scored 39 delegates, while Sanders won 14.

"I am so greatly appreciative," Clinton said speaking to supporters in Columbia. "Because today you sent a message. In America, when we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break. We've now gone through four early states, and I want to congratulate Sen. Sanders on running a great race, and tomorrow, this campaign goes national."

Clinton said her campaign would compete for every vote in every state without taking anything or anyone for granted.

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"This campaign and this victory tonight is for the parents and teachers in rural South Carolina," Clinton said. "They showed me crumbling classrooms in communities too long neglected. We're going to work together to give our children the education they need and deserve here in South Carolina and across America. This campaign and our victory is for the entrepreneur, who told me more dreams die in the parking lots of banks than anywhere else, and that's especially true for women and people of color. So we're going to work together to give people, particularly young people, the tools you need to start that small business you've been dreaming of. And this campaign and our victory is for the reverend, a presiding elder of the AME church, who looked at all the violence and division in our country and asked me the other night, 'How, how are we ever going to strengthen the bonds of family and community again?' Well we're going to start by working together, with more love and kindness in our hearts and more respect for each other even when we disagree. Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again, America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers."

Sanders, who campaigned out of the state Saturday, emailed a note of congratulations to Clinton on her projected win shortly after polls closed. In the email, Sanders thanked those in South Carolina who stood behind him.

"Let me be clear on one thing tonight," Sanders wrote in the email. "This campaign is just beginning. We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina. Now it's on to Super Tuesday."

Earlier in the day, State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire told the Associated Press turnout appears to be lighter in 2016.

Turnout was large in one area. Whitmire says 54,000 absentee ballots were cast in this primary, compared to 35,000 in the last Democratic presidential primary in 2008.

But Whitmire says that doesn't mean a record overall turnout, because the number of absentee votes cast in all South Carolina elections has been increasing rapidly in recent years.

He says precincts have reported fewer problems Saturday than in the Republican presidential primary a week ago.

Black voters may make up an even bigger share of the electorate in the South Carolina Democratic primary than they did in 2008, when Barack Obama was running. Early exit polls in the contest Saturday suggest about 6 in 10 voters are black.

State Democratic leaders say that between 350,000 and 400,000 voters may go to the polls. Last week, a record 740,000 voters cast ballots in the six-way GOP primary in the state.

Next on the campaign trail: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming and American Samoa will hold their primaries on Tuesday.

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