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Diplomacy in Action

The South Carolina Primary: State of the Race as South Carolina Republicans Go to the Polls

Andy Shain, Reporter, The State
Columbia, SC
February 18, 2016




3:00 P.M. EST

THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.

MODERATOR: Hello. On behalf of the State Department’s Foreign Press Center, I wanted to welcome our callers and our speaker to our teleconference on The South Carolina Primary: The State of the Race as South Carolina Republicans Go to the Polls. I’d like to introduce at this time our speaker, Andy Shain, Politics and Statehouse Reporter at The State, South Carolina’s capital newspaper in Columbia in South Carolina.

I’ll turn things over now to Andy, who will give brief remarks about the way the race is going in South Carolina, and then move to take your questions. If you want to get in the question queue, just press *1 in – on your phone, and if you need to, follow the instructions also of the operator. Without further ado, here is Andy Shain to give his remarks.

MR SHAIN: Good afternoon, all. First of all, I want to apologize for being late. As you can imagine, a lot of news is happening here in South Carolina today. So thank you for taking the time and waiting on me a little bit.

I’ll just go ahead and give a very basic overview of South Carolina and its role in our presidential primary process. We’re right now trying to have – get nominees for each of the parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. On Saturday, the Republicans vote in South Carolina. It’s the third race for the Republicans. This is the first race in the southern part of the United States. It’s also the state with the largest population so far that the voters will cast ballots in at this point. We have – just to give you an idea, based on the 2012 Republican races, we had 60 percent more turnout here in South Carolina than Iowa and New Hampshire combined. So a lot more votes are at stake here, and usually this is where the race gets a bit more clear as far as maybe weeding out some other candidates, especially in such a large field as we’ve had during this cycle.

South Carolina is a Republican-dominated state. We have a Republican governor. We have – both houses of our legislature are – is dominated by Republicans. Of the nine congressional delegation seats – two senators, seven congressmen – eight of them are held by Republicans. We have one Democrat in the House, Jim Clyburn. So the Republican race is really watched very closely here because of our history.

At the moment, Donald Trump is leading the polls. He has been leading the polls since essentially late July, which – really soon after he got into the race. It’s really not even been much of a contest. Since he’s got in the race, he’s only been behind in two polls. One of them was the first one after he got in the – right after he got in the race when Jeb Bush was still leading, and the second one was during when Dr. Ben Carson had a bit of a surge in the fall. But otherwise, he has been very dominant, and he’s continued to be dominant in the polls since New Hampshire and even after the debate on Saturday. So it’s looking like we’re going to give Donald Trump his second primary win here in South Carolina after winning in New Hampshire the other week.

At the moment, Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, has been the second choice, the runner-up. As you have been following, Senator Cruz has been someone who has looked at social issues a great deal. He’s trying to appeal to religious voters. We – one of the things in South Carolina is that 6 out of every 10 Republican voters have identified themselves as Evangelical Christians. So he’s appealing to that base.

And in third place has been U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is seen as what we’d call the establishment candidate, sort of a more mainstream candidate. He’s also been appealing to our religious voters as well as to voters who may not be just focused on those issues as well. So that’s going to be our – probably our top three come Saturday, and it’s going to be an interesting race. I think – as I said, I think Mr. Trump will finish first. And then second or third will probably – at the moment it looks like a bit of a tossup between Senators Cruz and Rubio with, I think, a slight nod to Senator Cruz at this point.

So I hope that was helpful at least as a start-off, but I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.

OPERATOR: Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. We do have a question from Marta Torres with La Razon newspaper [Spain]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. Good afternoon.

MR SHAIN: Yes.

QUESTION: I would like to know why usually in South Carolina things get uglier than in other contests. I’m talking about what happened in 2000 between – well, back then, Governor Bush and Senator McCain. And now, after we saw the town halls like – I don’t know if we can say insults or the language is a little bit uglier than we have seen before.

MR SHAIN: Sure. That’s a good question. South Carolina has had a bit of a reputation for being more of a rough-and-tumble state, but I think two things are – one main thing is at play here. We typically come somewhere between third, fourth, fifth, or sixth contest in the primaries. So at this point you’re early enough that things aren’t quite decided, but you’re – but you’ve already had a couple of primaries, a couple of elections under your belt at this point. So you’re trying – unlike Iowa and New Hampshire where you’re trying to test your message, kind of feel things out, some of the weaker candidates – very weak candidates will drop out, you’re now between the people who have more of a serious chance of actually winning the nomination. So thus, the race gets nastier and unfortunately – and at least for my state and its reputation, we seem to be the place where, as the field has drawn down or as the race is getting more intense, we’re the place where it happens.

Negative campaigning, insults, negative ads – they happen in Iowa; they happen in New Hampshire. They’re going to happen in what they call the Super Tuesday states, the state – the number of states that will be voting after us. They’re going to continue. It’s just because the first three races are also single state – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and then – I’m sorry, I should throw in a fourth – Nevada. After that, all the election dates have multiple states – fifteen states or five states, and that kind of thing. So the focus is much more on South Carolina in that sense, and at the same time, we do have a bit of a history of some fairly aggressive tactics. So it kind of goes hand-in-hand. But as I said, it kind of happens all over the place, and the insults are going to continue well after the voting is done on Saturday.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

MR SHAIN: Thank you, ma’am.

OPERATOR: Okay, thank you. And we have a question from Alexander Panetta with Canadian Press. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. Just – I had two questions.

MR SHAIN: Sure.

QUESTION: So the first is about sort of the mood in the Republican Party. I wanted to ask if you got a sense from the Republican establishment or more mainstream figures whether they could eventually support a candidate Trump, or do they see him as kind of a potential existential threat to the party? I know those two things are not mutually exclusive, but I wanted to get your sense of the feelings of the mainstream Republicans in the state.

And then the second question I was going to ask you is: Conservatives, either social conservatives or fiscal economic conservatives, what do they make of Trump? Are they willing to sort of bite the bullet on some of the things that they – that he said in order to vote for him as a candidate? And there I’m asking about just regular rank-and-file Republicans there.

MR SHAIN: Oh, sure. Well, in answer to your first question, I mean, I think they are – there’s a growing acceptance that – of dealing with a nominee Trump: The idea that Trump is going to win the nomination, he’s going to be the standard bearer for the party, and how do we handle that moving forward? I think in the end, as to a man to a woman, I’d – they say he would be better than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the Democratic potential nominee. So certainly I think they’re going to be supportive of him even if it’s a little bit reluctant on the part of some of the – of some Republicans. But the folks I talked to here have said if this is where the voters wanted to go, I – this is where it’s going to go. We’re going to back our man because, again, we want him more than any Democrat we could imagine.

And I think there is a – sort of a quiet feeling that if Donald Trump becomes the nominee, that they’ll be able to talk him – to talk to him about his language, about his stances, and about how he’s presenting himself to help obviously when things come November, when they’re – when he’s facing a Democrat.

You asked about the rank-and-file Republican, about his issues. I mean, I think it’s – especially in South Carolina, the bigger question really to me has been about the social conservatives – those who are against abortion, those who favor – who want Christianity better protected in the country, who feel that there’s, to a certain degree, maybe too much attention paid to diversity to a certain degree. And to those folks, I think – and he’s really drawn from – a lot of support from those people. But what’s been surprising to me has been that’s where he’s drawn from very religious voters, voters who go to church every Sunday, who say that the follow the tenets of the Bible. And yet Donald Trump has – was not sort of someone who is seen as a religious candidate, a religious person ahead of this election. Whereas Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio, Governor Bush sort of had – sort of walked the walk, talked the – had walked the walk, not just talked about it.

But obviously, Mr. Trump has said he’s religious; Mr. Trump has now said he reads the Bible. And even though there might be some voters who have not quite bought that argument, they are so desperate, so – they want change so much that they’re willing to support Donald Trump, who may not be the most religious of voters, may not really match all of their values, because they think he will make the change in Washington, he has a better chance of doing it than Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio, Governor Bush and so forth.

So it’s been an interesting race to watch in that sense.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Now we have a question from Yashwant Raj from Hindustan Times, [India]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. And thanks, Andy, for doing this. Two questions. One, you referred briefly to Trump’s deal among Evangelicals in South Carolina. So the first question is about what impact do you see, if any, from the Pope’s remarks today about Trump not doing the Christian thing by talking about a wall on the border with Mexico?

And the second question is about Bush. Why is he not catching fire? I mean, he brought his mother in, he brought his brother in. I mean, pulling brother out of the woodwork, so to say, after eight years, and still nothing is working for him. Do you think this is the end of the road for him if he doesn’t figure in the top three? I mean, he clearly doesn’t figure in the top three, but could it be the end of the road for him here?

MR SHAIN: No, that’s not – let me go ahead and – the question about the Pope. And that’s the interesting thing, and I don’t – and you – and I’m sure you all have seen the – Mr. Trump’s response to the Pope as well, which was typical of Mr. Trump. I don’t know if it’s going to hurt him necessarily. I was just – I’d looked up a statistic that found that South Carolina is in the bottom 10 of states with a percentage of Catholics here in the United States. And to a certain degree, while we might not be the most Catholic state in the country, we’re still obviously one of the more religious states in the country. And people do respect what the Pope has to say.

To a certain degree, though, I think if you are a fan of Mr. Trump’s, it doesn’t matter what anybody says, even the Pope, about his views. So if you’re a fan of Mr. Trump’s, you’ll feel like the immigration problem here in the United States is gone awry, you feel like that America’s not safe from terrorists. So to a certain degree, they’re going to say this is just another world leader chiming in to say – to offer an opinion, but I still – this is what I agree with, with Mr. Trump. So I’m not – I don’t think here in South Carolina it’s going to make that much of a difference. I’d be interested to see in some of the primaries that are coming up in states where there are a more Catholics – say, Massachusetts – where that may play a role, may play a bigger role.

On your second question about Governor Bush, that probably has been the surprise of this whole race. I think a year ago we all would have thought that Governor Bush would have done better than he’s done here. His father and his brother both won the South Carolina primary en route to winning the White House. They had supporters here. But I think this was the year of the insurgent candidate. This was the year of the let’s blow up everything in Washington and put a non-politician in place, and he got caught in that. And there was really no way around it. I’m not sure really what he could have done any differently to improve his chances. I just think this was the year of Donald Trump, this was the year of Ted Cruz, and to a certain degree Ben Carson as well, that the outsider is what people wanted.

So – and to a certain degree, yes, Governor Bush brought in his brother and his mother, but it’s now during the last week when he has been lagging in the polls for quite some time. So there are a lot of folks who are concerned that it’s too little, too late. It’s going to be curious to see what happens after Saturday, but I’m not sure where he has to go after that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. And we have a question from Mladen Petkov with Bulgarian National [Radio]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. Thank you so much for doing this call. I wanted to ask you to comment a little bit about the central issues for people in South Carolina. And also, who do you think will get the military vote, bearing in mind that in South Carolina is the naval base, the largest military installation? So who do you think from the Republicans will get that vote? Thank you.

MR SHAIN: Oh, no problem. On the military vote, I – again, Donald Trump is leading really pretty much on all the fronts. And the main issue that people bring up is national security and terrorism. Among Republicans in South Carolina, that is their number one issue. Number two usually is the economy. So while there are a lot of Americans who feel like – and a lot of South Carolinians – excuse me – who feel like, “I have a job but maybe my pay isn’t going up,” they seem to be more concerned about essentially are we secure with terrorists and from, of course, ISIS and al-Qaida.

So he is – Donald Trump has hit that nerve, and is, I think, going to win that – and is going to win that vote. And I – and usually in most of these polls, they separate immigration as an issue as well, and that usually shows up very high as well. But I would sort of put immigration in that national security issue. I think there are some concerns among South Carolinians, some of the voters, who fear that if we don’t have a handle on our borders, say, with Mexico, who are we letting into the country? And who can get – and who – and can an ISIS agent or an al-Qaida agent come in through Mexico? So I think, again, that’s what Donald Trump is speaking to, and I think he’s going to get that vote on Saturday.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Now we have a question from Igor Borisenko with TASS News Agency, [Russia]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Good afternoon, sir. In New Hampshire, because of the huge turnout, the polling stations were open, as far as I remember, an hour late than was supposed. So housekeeping question: When do – when are you going to open the first polling station, and when are you going to close, and when you expect the first results? That’s for one.

And another one: Could you possibly comment on the delegation of the – delegates allocation from the state? I understand that you do have 10 at-large delegates and, as far as I remember, something like 21, if I am correct, delegates – district delegates. And what about your other delegates? So the whole count is 50. Could you please give the breakdown please? Thank you.

MR SHAIN: Oh, sure. As far as the logistics on Saturday, as far as I know, the polls are open from 7:00 a.m. – this is all Eastern – 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. So again, all things being equal, everyone gets their results in, I think it should be fairly quickly. I think we’ll know who won fairly quickly. I think the question’s going to be who finished second, who finished third will be sort of the issue hanging out there, whether it’s going to be Senator Cruz or Senator Rubio, if I were to take a guess. But I think you’ll know fairly quickly that Mr. Trump has won.

And this is – again, I’m basing this on the current polls. I – who knows what happens? Obviously, in Iowa the polls were showing Mr. Trump with a slight lead, a very slight lead over Senator Cruz, and Senator Cruz ended up winning. But in this case, Mr. Trump (inaudible) a fairly large lead, usually about 15 to 20 percentage points lead, and I think he’ll – it may not be that – I don’t know whether it will be that big or not, but I think it’s a big enough lead to pretty much assure that he’s got things in hand on Saturday.

As far as the delegate count, there are 50 delegates up for grab in South Carolina. There are 29 delegates who are going to be committed to whomever wins the most votes in the states, 29. These are 10 at-large delegates; 16 – I don’t know quite the right word for it – I wouldn’t call them bonus delegates, but I would just say these are more sort of at-large delegates that are out there; and then the state party leaders. But again, 29, they’re supposed to vote for at the convention whoever wins the entire state. So if it’s Mr. Trump, they would vote for Mr. Trump.

Then there are 21 delegates up for grabs and there are three each from the seven congressional districts that we have. So if Mr. Trump wins all seven congressional delegates, he would get those 21 – he would get all of those additional 21. But for instance, just for the sake of argument, just for an example – this is not something to quote directly, but just to give you an idea, if Mr. Cruz were – if Senator Cruz were to win one of the districts, he would win three delegates. If he were to win two, he would get six, et cetera. So you sort of get the idea. But in the end, if you win the entire state, you obviously win a bulk of the – you win 29 of the 50 delegates we have up for grabs.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. And we now have a question from Heba El-Koudsy – and I do apologize – from Al Sharq Al Awsat, [Saudi Arabia]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. I would like – first of all, thanks for doing this. And if you please, can you elaborate a little bit on the vote demographics, how – what’s the percentage of the white and the Hispanic and the African American? And what exactly – because South Carolina is considered one of the states in the Bible Belt, what exactly voters are looking for in their candidate, let me say, religious-wise, or what’s the --

MR SHAIN: Sure.

QUESTION: Okay? Thanks.

MR SHAIN: Yeah, no problem. As far as the breakdown, I’m sorry, I don’t have a precise breakdown on Republican voters in the state. It’s fair to say very majority white in our state. There are some African Americans who are Republicans. One of our top – obviously, we have a U.S. senator who’s an African American. One of the – what we call the Republican committeemen, state committeemen, he’s one of the top three party officials, is an African American. But it still makes up a fairly small, very small percentage of the Republican voters as well as Latino voters, as well Hispanic voters as well. So I don’t – I’m sorry I don’t have a precise breakdown, but most polls, as far as if you look at them as race considers, usually anything beyond white voters usually doesn’t show up as a – even as a large percentage at all.

As far as what voters look for, I mean, that’s – it’s a very broad question. What I would say is some – again, as I said, six out of 10 voters identify themselves as Evangelical Christians or as very religious voters. So I think they are looking – I think they’re looking at values. They’re looking at social values, religious values, and those kinds of things. Usually, we used to think of those Evangelical voters as voting in a bloc. They would go towards, say, a Mike Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas, who was a former Baptist minister, who was a Baptist minister. And – or we would say they would go for Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who – again, who is very – who based his campaign four years ago on social issues.

This year’s been very different. The Evangelical vote is split among Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio. Some of that is based on economics with people who have less education and who don’t make as much money leaning towards Mr. Trump in this case. So it’s very much of a different vote, different way.

But the one thing South Carolina does like to pride itself on is voting for, as they say, the conservative who can win in November. Usually, again, South Carolina likes to see itself as the place where it sorts out what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire and sort of give some clarity to the race. From 1980 until 2008, South Carolina – the South Carolina primary winner was always the nominee for the party, from Ronald Reagan through John McCain. That changed in 2012. In the last week, Newt Gingrich, who was the House speaker – former House speaker, excuse me – defeated Mitt Romney here in South Carolina. And of course, Mitt Romney went on to win the nomination. But that was the first time since 1980 and Ronald Reagan where the South Carolina Republican voters did not select the eventual nominee.

It’s been interesting this time around, because I’ve had people say, “Oh no, we’re not going for a Jeb Bush or a Marco Rubio or a John Kasich this time around.” But what I would say is that Mr. Trump is leading across the country, and in the end South Carolina is just reflecting what’s happening across the country. They like – at the moment, the voters, the Republican voters here, are going behind Mr. Trump.

OPERATOR: Okay. Thank you. And we have a question from Shota Sato with Tokyo Broadcasting System, [Japan] – and I’m sorry about this – (inaudible). Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you for doing this.

MR SHAIN: Hi. No problem.

QUESTION: My question was on the possibility of Trump not winning. You seem to be pretty confident that Trump would come – Mr. Trump would come in number one. But as you alluded to the Iowa situation, do you think there will be any factors that maybe like Cruz or Rubio might go past the goal line ahead of Trump?

MR SHAIN: Anything’s possible, of course. And – but at this moment – I’m basing this on polls; I’m basing this on support I see in the state – I don’t – I see Mr. Trump – at the moment, I see Mr. Trump ahead. The only possibilities I could see where Mr. Trump may not win or may – I mean, and maybe just by a little bit is that – Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio have very good what we call ground games here, the idea being that they have people who are knocking on doors, making phone calls, making sure that their supporters go out and vote on Saturday. That’s why, in some ways, I’ve been suggesting that the lead that Mr. Trump has maybe will not be as big as a result as we get on Saturday.

But to a certain degree, people have thought that a lot of the comments he’s made – and especially on Saturday, when he made comments about how 9/11 happened on the watch of George W. Bush, who is a very popular former president here in this state – that that would hurt him. It might have cost him so far a percentage point or two on the polls, but it hasn’t hurt him really overall to make anybody suggest otherwise that he wouldn’t win.

Even the comments with the Pope today – again, could that hurt a little bit? I guess. But nothing else has seemed to hurt him at this point. As political pundits have been saying to me since the fall, this is a candidate who seems to break all the rules and pay none of the consequences, and the idea being that he’s breaking all the rule that normally in politics where you would sit here and you would go, “Oh my goodness, this person is not going to get elected. This person is doomed.” Not in Mr. Trump’s case.

So at this point, at least in South Carolina, it seems to be his to win and really pretty much at this point for Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio to sort out who’s second and has a momentum heading in Nevada and Super Tuesday.

OPERATOR: Okay. Thank you. We have a question from Lisa Resto with ARD German TV. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Ask two questions. Do you know where Donald Trump is campaigning next week? And could you also say something about the Democratic primary in one week?

MR SHAIN: Okay. I do not know where Mr. Trump is campaigning next week. I’ve not seen the schedule, but I’m assuming, of course, you will see him in Nevada, which is the next spot. But he’ll also probably start going to some of the Super Tuesday states as well to try to build support. So it’s going to be – with his plane and with the way he’s been campaigning, he can go to multiple states fairly quickly and move himself around. But I think – I’m sure he’s going to want to shore himself up in Nevada, but nothing official that I know of.

As far as the Democrats go, the South Carolina Democratic primary is being held on the 27th, a week later after the Republican primary. Right now, Hillary Clinton has had a fairly large lead on Senator Sanders. It’s at times been above 20 percentage points; some polls have it a little less. The reason she’s doing very well here is that this is a state where most of the voters – Democratic voters, excuse me – are African American, and she has done very, very well among African Americans, much more than Senator Sanders at this point.

Part of it also is the fact that she ran in 2008 against then-Senator Barack Obama, so she has a lot of people that she knows here, a lot of relationships that she was able to build off of, or even those that she – some of these folks who she was not able to convince to be on her side in 2008 she’s been able to win over to her side in 2016. So she’s doing fairly well here, though I will say that as Senator Sanders has shown strength, he has nibbled away at her lead a little bit.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. And we have a question now from Celia Cernadas with Catalunya Radio, [Spain]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello, thank you for this call. I’d like to know whether you think that Governor Nikki Haley’s support to Marco Rubio can benefit him, and what does it mean in terms of saying, well, Rubio is definitely the establishment candidate here in South Carolina and across the country?

And my second question would be – you’ve talked a little bit about that, but I’d like you to make, like, a profile about South Carolina. In what terms it’s different from Iowa and New Hampshire – for example, in terms of diversity of the population and other issues, economically, for example? Okay, thank you.

MR SHAIN: Okay. No, thank you. I want to make sure I heard your first part of your question correctly. You asked me about Governor Haley. Is that correct, ma’am?

QUESTION: Yeah, about Governor Haley --

MR SHAIN: Okay. Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: -- and her support to Rubio.

MR SHAIN: Okay, sure. Thank you. I just wanted to make sure I heard that correctly.

Yes, as you – as probably you all know, Governor Haley yesterday – Nikki Haley endorsed Marco Rubio – not unexpected. I think for a long time we all expected that Governor Haley would endorse governor – governor, excuse me – Senator Rubio in part because Senator Rubio seemed to be gaining the most support among what we’re calling the establishment candidates. They have very similar backgrounds. They’re both 44 years old. They’re both the children of immigrants. His parents came from Cuba; her parents came from India. They both were elected to their current offices in 2010 as what we – as Tea Party candidates, and that’s exactly, actually, where they met, apparently.

So it’s – it was not a huge surprise for her to go ahead and endorse, and I think it will help solidify Senator Rubio’s stance as sort of the candidate who’s best in a position to be able to take on Mr. Trump and take on Senator Cruz moving forward.

As far as South Carolina being different – and again, we’re talking about the Republican voters versus the Democratic voters. Because overall, the demographic of South Carolina where we’re talking about everybody in South Carolina, is that we do have more diversity in our state with African Americans and Latinos than we do – than – or excuse me – Hispanics, excuse me – than in Iowa, than in New Hampshire. But among the Republican voters, tends to be, again, mostly white. And the main difference really among – in the Republican voters between the states is that Iowa and South Carolina, six out of ten of the Republican voters identify themselves as Evangelical. It’s only two out of ten that identified themselves as Evangelical in New Hampshire, so a very different religious base in New Hampshire than, say, in South Carolina.

That’s why, for instance, Senator Cruz was expected to – is expected to do pretty well here, because he, as I said, has been appealing to those voters and he’s been working that very well. The main difference here in South Carolina is that we also have a number of retirees from other parts of our country where – on the – we have the coastline, people like to go to retire to the mountains, and I think we have a little bit more of a diverse base in the Republican Party than maybe Iowa does. So I hope that helps.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Okay, thank you. We now have a question from Ania Nussbaum with France 2 TV. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. I was wondering if you think that the recent initiative that Bernie Sanders took to conquer the black vote will have an effect on the outcome of the primary.

And second question. I wanted to know – I wanted you to talk about the super-delegates on the Democratic side. I read that Clinton has (inaudible) half of them. Do you think they are likely to change their minds? And what about the others? Thank you.

MR SHAIN: Okay, no problem. I may ask you to help me and repeat on the second question, but let me go ahead and answer the first.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR SHAIN: Senator Sanders has been working hard to win over the African American vote, the black vote in our – in South Carolina. He has beefed up his staff. He has tried his best to do more outreaches to African American churches, which is, of course, a key social dynamic in our state. I think he’s going to make some inroads. I’m just not sure he can make enough to be able to defeat Secretary Clinton at this point.

That said, he has a huge amount of support from younger voters. So if he is able to get more younger voters to come on out and support him, I think he could have a greater effect in our state. But at the moment, among African American voters, Senator – I’m sorry, Secretary Clinton is doing very, very well. And as I said, she’s got a fairly substantial lead.

Now, you had asked a question about the super-delegates, and I wanted to make sure. Can you ask – what was it you wanted to know about them again? I am sorry.

QUESTION: Yeah, no problem. I was just wondering if you thought that Clinton will win the votes of the super-delegates.

MR SHAIN: Okay. I think she has a good chance of that. I think that, again, she’s more of the party establishment. There are a lot of – usually super-delegates are usually voter – Democrats who have been around a long time. And obviously, the history of her family, I think, supports her on that, and I think there was a report today that I saw that talked about nationally among the super-delegates that most of them are leaning towards Clinton, as they are in South Carolina at the moment. So I think that’ll give her an advantage heading into the convention.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Okay, thank you. We now have a question with Ines Trams with ZDF German TV. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes, hi. I also have a question with regard to the 27th February and the race of the Democrats, especially for the black voters. Could you elaborate a little bit more on the fight of Bernie and Hillary for black voters? How does the African American community think about the fight for their votes? Do they value that? Do they respect that? What do they expect in a candidate?

And the second question would be: What if Hillary Clinton loses clearly in Nevada now? Would that in any regard affect the black voters in South Carolina a week later?

MR SHAIN: I think that your last point’s a fairly fair question, but I think that, like a lot of voters in South Carolina, we have great respect both in the Republican and the Democratic side for the role that we – that the voters – that we play in the election; that we are the first southern state that votes in both the Republican and the Democratic primary; that there’s a – that the attention is on the state, obviously this week with the Republicans, next week with the Democrats. So I think everyone appreciates the role they play. They, of course, appreciate the attention they get. And to a certain degree, I think everyone likes to hear that there are other options out there and what they have to propose, whether it changes their mind or not.

As far as what happens in Nevada, I think that’s an excellent question. Nevada is another caucus state, just like Iowa, so I think there’s always a little bit of folks in South Carolina who look a little askew at the caucuses just because they’re not straight primaries. They’re not one-for-one votes. They’re usually systems that are a little more complicated than just going to a polling place and hitting a button and then your vote just count.

So – but at the same time, momentum is momentum. If Secretary Clinton is not as successful in Nevada as it appears that she should be, I think it could affect some things here in South Carolina. But going back to what I’ve said earlier, she has a fairly large lead, and so the idea is that – so instead of it being a commanding victory, it’s a less commanding victory. That may be the issue. I am a fan of soccer, so in the end, it’s about winning. Is it about winning 4-nothing or is it about winning 4-2? So that’s part of the issue, I guess, with this.

But I don’t – again, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Senator Sanders to upset Secretary Clinton based on the polls, based on what I’m hearing at this point.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. If there is any additional questions, please press *1 at this time. We do have a question from Marta Torres with La Razon newspaper. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello.

MR SHAIN: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you – do you think there is a limit for Donald Trump in terms of what he says? He has gone against Governor Nikki Haley today, as you mentioned, before the Pope (inaudible). And the other day, the – President Obama said that he should say different things.

MR SHAIN: Yeah. I mean, everybody has. I’m not sure there is a limit with Mr. Trump, I mean, at least as far as what the voters will tolerate. He has, as I said, said many things that political experts I’ve talked to have said if my candidate said that, their race would be over or they would be – the headlines would be so much against them. And they have been against Mr. Trump, but it seems with the voters it’s not affected him as much.

I do think it’ll be interesting to see as the field – the Republican field goes from now – it was at seventeen, now we’re at six – I think we’ll be at three or four coming out of South Carolina, but as it gets down to two or three, whether or not he can continue to say some of the things he is saying and the way he is saying them because he’s now only facing one or two opponents.

So I think that will change the dynamic, and I think you’ll see Mr. Trump change his language accordingly.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. And we have a question from Mark Broad with BBC, [United Kingdom]. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. I just wanted to ask about whether we should be looking out for any particular areas. Districts has been quite kind of important to predicting the outcome of the race. And also just more generally, there’s a fair bit about there being a lot of military veterans on the coast. Could you just give a little kind of sort of map of how the state breaks down in terms of those things, where particular parts of the state might tend to vote and what might be significant on the night?

MR SHAIN: Okay. Well, first of all, seeing how I have a British reporter on the phone, I have to say I’m a Gunner, and so go Gunners.

QUESTION: Well, so am I. So go Gunners.

MR SHAIN: Go Gunners, cheers. Very good. And afterwards we can talk about the race with Leicester and all that – Leicester City. (Laughter.)

But that said, first of all, it’s funny you raise this question. You’re not the first person to ask me this. There was an answer that I would have given to you from 2012 on back versus what I’m going to say now for 2016. It used to be that we sort of had sort of three stratospheres in the state. We used to have what we call the upstate, the northwestern section, which was where our social conservatives, our religious voters are. We had what we called the midlands – the midsection where it kind of blended a little bit of more moderate voters, more pragmatic voters, and then you had the coast where it probably leaned a lot more moderate and even to a certain degree what we call libertarian as well. And again, that’s where – a lot of your retirees are and you get a mix of folks from all over the country. They’re not just really from South Carolina at that point.

So it used to be you would look at it from that perspective. But Donald Trump has basically knocked down all those walls. I mean, he is the favorite among moderates, he’s the favorite among conservatives, he’s the favorite among Evangelicals, he’s the favorite of gun owners, he’s the favorite of people who don’t own guns. I mean, you go on and on. He has just, as I said, put convention upside down.

So where – the main area I would probably look for – or the two main areas I would probably keep an eye on – well, actually, I would say three. Let’s do – go three. Number one, Greenville-Spartanburg, what we call the upstate. That’s always the area to watch. That’s an area where Ted Cruz really needs to do well to solidify that second place, or even if his ground game is as good as he’s saying, maybe even challenge for first.

The other area to look at is what we call the Pee Dee, and that’s P-E-E, D-E-E, two words. And that area is the area that’s just west of Myrtle Beach for those of you who have been to Myrtle Beach to vacation or to golf or know folks who have. That’s the – that is the rural area that’s just sort of that northeast corner of the state, and that is another area where you tend to get more conservative voters. And again, that’s an area where Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio would like to see themselves probably do well against Donald Trump. Because again, if you’re going to have people who are not happy with the language that Mr. Trump is using or the tone that he’s using, these are the areas that you would look at.

Then you do have the Charleston area, which is, as you mentioned, a lot of veterans, a lot of retirees. And again, that’s where Marco Rubio is going to want to challenge Donald Trump with the idea being that, again, trying to win over those voters to try to establish himself. But I – as I said, I think Donald Trump’s going to – that’s, again, based on the polling, based on what I’m hearing anecdotally – is going to probably dominate from stem to stern.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Once again, if you have a question at this time, please press * 1. No questions in queue. There appears to be no more questions in queue.

MODERATOR: Okay. If there are no more questions, we can conclude the event.

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