The race for the White House entered a new phase Sunday as the Democratic campaign pivots to Georgia and the other Super Tuesday states that will hold votes in three days.
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton hope to leverage their victories in the South Carolina primaries in the cluster of a dozen states that hold primaries and caucuses on Tuesday.
Both hold an edge in many of the polls in Georgia and the sweep of other mostly Southern states in the Super Tuesday vote, known in these parts as the SEC primary. Georgia, Texas and five other states south of the Mason-Dixon Line hold primaries on Tuesday, as do a range of other states from Alaska to Vermont.
With Clinton’s overwhelming victory in South Carolina over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and her commanding lead in the contest for party insiders known as “superdelegates,” she has the upper hand in the race for delegates needed to secure her party’s nomination.
And after three victories in a row in early-voting states – Trump won the South Carolina GOP primary last week – a big night on Tuesday could forever separate him from a still-crowded field that includes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Their leads are not insurmountable, since the first four contests offer relatively meager delegate hauls. But as voters in the bigger states of Texas, Illinois and Florida prepare to cast ballots in March votes – and award huge troves of delegates – their rivals are running out of time to catch up.
“Tomorrow, this race goes national,” Clinton told a raucous crowd in Columbia shortly after the polls closed.
Sanders, who is focusing on Super Tuesday states like Vermont and Minnesota, said the fight is far from over.
“Let me be clear on one thing tonight: This campaign is just beginning,” Sanders said.