Republican Donald Trump swept all 50 of South Carolina’s primary delegates Saturday night, while nearly 3,000 miles across the country, Nevada Democrats gave former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton her first outright win of the primary season with a clear majority.
For the Republicans, Trump finished far ahead of the pack with 33 percent the votes, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) followed behind him at 22.5 and 22.3 percent, respectively. Soon after his fourth place finish, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) ended his campaign, whittling the Republican field down to just five candidates.
“Trump’s numbers at the ballot box have been largely consistent with what the polls have shown, and of course this was a big win for him,” said Robert Guerra, finance junior and College Republicans communications director.
On the Democratic side, the race was far tighter — although nowhere near as close as the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 — with Clinton winning 53 percent of all Nevadans to 47 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“It was an exciting caucus to watch,” said Maliha Mazhar, government and international business senior and University Democrats communications director. “I’m very eager to see what happens in South Carolina.”
Next Tuesday and Saturday, the two parties will switch states, with Republicans voting in Nevada and Democrats voting in South Carolina.
According to recent polling, this past week’s winners are heavily expected to continue their wins when the states are reversed, with no fundamental shifts in the primary possible, unless there is a surprising underdog victory.
While the results from Republicans in Nevada and Democrats in South Carolina indicate front-runner victories, many of the candidates are setting their eyes elsewhere on the heftiest possible delegate prize to date: Super Tuesday on March 1.
On March 1, Super Tuesday voters from 12 states and one territory will offer Democrats 1,004 delegates and Republicans 595 delegates. Texas will be the most tantalizing state in number of sheer delegates for both parties.
“Super Tuesday, as always, is highly anticipated, especially considering the battle between Cruz, Rubio and Trump,” Guerra said. “[It] will definitely have a very big effect on the trajectory of the race going forward.”
The most recent survey on the Super Tuesday states has Clinton over Sanders in 10 out of the 12 total states — including Texas — according to Public Policy Polling. In that poll, Sanders leads Clinton in Massachusetts and in his home state of Vermont.
Republican voters in the Super Tuesday states have not been surveyed in a single poll as of yet.
With Texas voters a little more than a week away from voting, nonpartisan civic engagement groups on campus are actively reaching out to students in the hopes of smashing the state’s record of having one of the lowest turnout rates in the country.
“So far for early voting, the [Flawn Academic Center] has been the most popular location in Travis County,” said Ashley Alcantara, international relations senior and director for the nonpartisan Student Government agency Hook the Vote. “I think students are excited about Texas being influential in the presidential primaries.”
Any registered Texan can head to their nearest polling location to cast their vote until Feb. 26, when early voting ends, and on March 1 for the last opportunity to sway the primary in favor of one of the candidates in each party.