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Nevada and South Carolina Go to the Polls; AP/Fox: Romney Nabs Gold in Nev.; Update: Voting Problems in SC; Update: Hispanics in Nevada Boost Hill to Victory; Update: Obama Wins Nev. Delegate Vote?; Update: Obama Ahead in SC; GOP Race Still "Too Close to Call"; 9:19pm Eastern. AP/Fox Call SC for McCain; Mel "Tower of Jell-O" Martinez Won't Campaign for His Shamnesty Pal; Update McCain/Grahamnesty Exult
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Update 10:03pm Eastern. McCain’s on stage. He’s all smiles. “It took us a while, but what’s eight years among friends…South Carolinians are never fair-weather friends…”

As for McCain, well.

Ugh. He thanks Lindsay Grahamnesty behind him. Cheers go up.

Ugh.

“Before I can win your vote, I must earn your respect. And the only way I can do that is to be honest with you.”

Still waiting.

McCain points out that the history of SC’s GOP primary paving the path to the presidency.

Touts his record as a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. Stump speech is meant to appeal to conservatives.

Did it work for you?

Eh.

Update 9:37pm Eastern. Liveblogging Huck’s concession here.

Update 9:29pm Eastern. Several outlets had reported all day that Shamnesty-pushing Sen. Mel Martinez would be campaigning with McCain on Monday. He’s decided against it…because he takes pity on Sanctuary-supporting Rudy Giuliani. Ugh all around:

Under pressure from fundraisers and friends, Sen. Mel Martinez has decided not to endorse presidential candidate John McCain, who was planning to campaign Monday in Miami with the popular Florida Republican to help win crucial votes in South Florida’s Hispanic community.

A big factor in Martinez’s decision: He feels badly for McCain’s opponent, Rudy Giuliani. After all, the former New York mayor was a Martinez supporter, and thought he had a shot at Martinez’s support.

Now, no one will get Martinez’s backing as the candidates, in a four-way tie for first place in Florida, sprint to the Jan. 29 election and scrounge for every vote in the biggest primary state yet.

McCain supporters had been told by the campaign Thursday and Friday that Martinez was coming to campaign with the Arizona senator. But, they said, Giuliani fundraisers and supporters — who played a key role in Martinez’s narrow 2004 Senate win — swayed Martinez to stay out. A Martinez spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday.

Some viewed Martinez’s decision to sit out as a betrayal of McCain, who helped Martinez push a radioactive White House-backed immigration bill. The measure was roundly condemned by conservatives as ”amnesty” for illegal immigrants and cost McCain serious political points that helped almost kill his campaign.

”Mel’s a tower of Jell-O,” said Republican operative Roger Stone, a McCain backer.

Can’t argue with that.

Update 9:18pm Eastern. AP and Fox call the race for McCain.

FNC’s Megyn Kelly had just finished pointing out exit poll data showing that the Fred Factor may have swung the race.

Update 9:05pm Eastern. The networks are waiting for Horry County results. Carl Cameron says results from evangelical-dominated Greenville and upcountry look good for McCain. If Huckabee can’t hold on to his base, what does he have left?

Update 8:40pm Eastern. John Edwards is speaking [update: Fox is playing video of an event earlier today]. It’s safe to say he’s not going anywhere…

Update 8:21pm Eastern. The moonbats at MSNBC uncover the Sloppy Mitt Conspiracy.

On the Dem side, the polls reportedly show Obama leading in South Carolina [heading into next week’s primary].

22 percent of precincts reporting. On the GOP side now, McCain 36 percent, Huckabee 28 percent. The phrase of the night: “Too close to call.”

Update 8:10pm Eastern. I liveblogged Fred here.

Update 7:19pm Eastern. No wonder Hill was irked. Via Dan Riehl, the Nation reports that while she won the popular vote, Obama may have won the Nevada delegates: “Barack Obama may have won the most delegates in Saturday’s Nevada Caucus, even though Hillary Clinton bested his statewide turnout by about six points. A source with knowledge of the Nevada Democratic Party’s projections told The Nation that under the arcane weighting system, Obama would win 13 national convention delegates and Clinton would win 12 delegates. The state party has not released an official count yet.”

More Obama campaign spin here.

Update: 7:08pm Eastern. Hillary speaks. Looks like she took a valium. She’s….speaking…very…slowly. She’s slightly irked by a reporter who points out she might not have won the delegate vote. “I…find…it…strange…we ran a great campaign.” Romney’s in Florida, meanwhile, touting his 53 percent total in Nevada. He’s very peppy.

Update 7:02pm Eastern. The polls in SC are closed. It’s too early and too close to call.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports on soggy voters and dsyfunctional machines.

Update 6:45pm Eastern. SC bloggers at The Palmetto Scoop weigh in on the voting machine problems.

The Greenville newspaper reports no problems.

Update 5:39pm Eastern. SC exit poll results are coming in. Who turned out?:

Preliminary exit poll results indicate that nearly seven in 10 Republican voters in the state are identifying themselves as conservatives, which is more than in the 2000 primary there, as well as more than in either Michigan or New Hampshire this year. And nearly six in 10 in South Carolina are evangelical Christians. Independents in these preliminary results account for just about two in 10 voters, down from nearly three in 10 in any of the last three South Carolina GOP primaries.

And it’s not looking good for Fred. At all.

Update 5:10pm Eastern. Hill takes Nevada. Looks like that “No woman is illegal” propaganda paid off for Hill…”With 78% reporting and a six-point lead, Fox calls it for Hillary…A forty-point margin for the Glacier among Latinos. Amazing.”

Update 4:23pm Eastern. Oh, boy. South Carolina’s The State newspaper reports on a “technology burp” with Horry County voting machines…

As many as 90 percent of the electronic voting machines in Horry County did not work correctly when polls opened in Saturday morning’s Republican primary, but most were up and running by noon, county spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said.

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the full impact of bad weather in the Upstate and voting machine problems in Horry County on GOP voter turnout remained to be seen.

State Election Commission spokesman Garry Baum said all precincts are supposed to have emergency paper ballots in case of machine failure. Thus, he said, no one should have been turned away because of voting machine problems.

“Emergency paper ballots are part of the election,” Baum said.

However, Baum could not say definitely whether anyone had not voted because of the voting machine problems.

State Rep. Tracy Edge, R-Myrtle Beach, called for Sandy Martin’s firing Saturday afternoon.

“I guess I’m just stunned because the crew in that office only has to do the job twice a year and they can’t get it done,” he said.

Horry County has had voting problems in every election, Edge said. “I want her fired, I’m tired of it,” he said.

Update 4:08pm Eastern. From the Nevada Democrat Party website:

Senator Hillary Clinton: 50.32%

Senator Barack Obama: 45.04%

Senator John Edwards: 4.38%

Uncommitted: 0.21%

Congressman Dennis Kucinich: 0.05%

Senator Mike Gravel: 0%

ORDER IT NOW

Update 1:40pm Eastern. So, Romney’s the Nevada victor. How did the rest of the GOP candidates do? Reader Paul e-mails: “I thought you might like to know that I just voted in the Nevada caucus in precinct #1324 and the vote was 27 votes for Romney, followed by Ron Paul with 6, John McCain with either 4 or 5, Fred Thompson with 4 and Mike Huckabee with 3.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has up-to-the-minute results. At this moment, Romney has 206; Paul-72, McCain-70, Thompson – 60, Huck -40, Rudy – 12, Hunter – 9.

***

The results of the Nevada GOP caucuses have already been called by the AP and other MSM outlets. Romney takes another gold:

Republican Mitt Romney won Nevada’s caucuses Saturday while John McCain and Mike Huckabee dueled in the South Carolina primary, a campaign doubleheader likely to winnow the crowded field of presidential rivals.

Democrats shared the stage in Nevada, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama vied for a caucus victory and the campaign momentum that goes with it.

Romney’s western victory marked two straight successes, coming after a win in the Michigan primary earlier in the week that revived his campaign.

Alone among the Republican contenders, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas aired television ads in Nevada, and the libertarian-leaning Texan looked for his best showing of the campaign season.

Nevada offered more delegates but far less appeal to the Republican candidates than South Carolina, a primary that has gone to the party’s eventual nominee every four years since 1980.

That made it a magnet for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who staked his candidacy on a strong showing, as well as for Romney, McCain, the Arizona senator; and Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas.

Allah asks a good question: “What does this do to South Carolina now, where the polls are still open? Do undecideds break for Romney?”

The latest Zogby numbers (grain of salt, of course) show Huckabee and McCain in a dead heat in SC.

(Republished from MichelleMalkin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2008 Campaign