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Democrats struggle to build broad support on eve of voting

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — With Iowa caucus voting just over a week away, each of the Democratic Party's leading presidential candidates has glaring holes in his or her political bases. The gaps raise questions about the candidates' ability to build a coalition like the one Barack Obama built. The Democratic Party's last successful nominee relied largely on three core groups: young people, minorities and working-class whites. Polling and interviews with campaign officials suggest each of the leading Democratic candidates is showing weakness with one or more of those groups. That is concerning to Democratic officials who, above all, want to defeat President Donald Trump.


Homeowner: Airbnb guest threw party that trashed island home

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (AP) — The owner of an island home off South Carolina's coast is suing Airbnb. Scott Shaw says the company only reimbursed him for “a fraction” of damages he says recent guests caused to his Isle of Palms home. In a federal lawsuit, Shaw says they broke furniture, left holes in the wall and left walls and bedding covered with and smelling of vomit, marijuana and cigarettes. A representative of Airbnb says the company is looking into the allegations.


3rd South Carolina man convicted in neighbor's 2016 slaying

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man has pleaded guilty to killing his disabled neighbor, who was found wrapped in blankets and bound with duct tape in her burned home. A statement from the 14th Circuit Solicitor's office says 27-year-old John Dontue Priester was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for murder and 20 years for second-degree arson. Authorities say firefighters responded to a blaze at Teresa Siegler's Beaufort house in December 2016. The 56-year-old's body was discovered doused in gasoline. The prosecutor said witnesses saw Priester walk toward Seigler’s home with a gasoline can similar to one investigators found at the scene. Two other men have been convicted in the case.


After setback, SC conservatives keep pushing abortion bills

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers don't appear ready to debate a bill that would ban nearly all abortions this session, but abortion opponents are pushing some other related restrictions. On Thursday, a small group of Republican senators on a party line vote approved a bill that would ban using the tissue from aborted fetuses in research, making it a felony to buy or sell the remains. The bill now heads to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee. Democrats promised to fight this bill too if it gets to the Senate floor.


Steyer aims criminal justice plan at taking on racial bias

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer is proposing a criminal justice reform plan that would redirect funds to education, community policing and rehabilitation in an effort to amend a system he sees as prejudiced against lower-income communities and people of color. Steyer is rolling out the plan Thursday after several days of campaigning in South Carolina. Black voters make up the majority of the Democratic electorate in the state, and many of them name criminal justice reform as among their top priorities. Former Vice President Joe Biden has deep support in South Carolina, but Steyer has steadily been working to make inroads.


SC lawmakers reopen regulator race after 11 aren't qualified

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are reopening the search for candidates for four regulator seats on the state's utility board after the initial search only turned up six qualified candidates. The House passed a bill Thursday reopening the races for spots on the state Public Service Commission in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th Congressional districts, The proposal has already passed the Senate. and the governor's office says he will sign it The Legislature's Public Utilities Review Committee held hearings earlier this month to review the qualifications of 17 candidates to be regulators and found 11 of them not qualified including current board member Swain Whitfield. Candidates who withdrew from the race or were found not qualified cannot run again.