Unofficial South Carolina Republican Primary Results

Will be updated when the Democrats vote

George W. Bush - 301,050 (53.2%)

John McCain - 237,888 (42.0%)

Alan Keyes - 25,510 ( 4.5%)

Gary Bauer - 717 ( 0.1%)

Steve Forbes - 469 ( 0.1%)

Orrin Hatch - 70 ( 0.01%)


Total Vote 565,704 (26.5%)

Gore Gains On Massive Turnout

The number of voters in the South Carolina Republican primary was only 15,000 lower than the total number of votes the Republican candidates for Congress received in the 1998 General Election. More than 1/4 of the 2,139,201 voters cast ballots in the Republican primary. The good news is that the massive negative campaign Bush waged against McCain didn't keep voters home.

Although Bush won the South Carolina primary, he did it in a way that threatens to scupper his chances in November. By supporting the flying of the Confederate flag from the state capitol and speaking at Bob Jones University where interracial dating is banned, Bush has virtually thrown away any chance he had to get votes in the minority communities whose votes are so important to carrying the big industrial states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.

On the other hand, John McCain's attempt to portray himself as a populist bend on giving the government back to the people is belied by the fact that he voted to remove President Clinton from office and tied his South Carolina campaign to Lindsay Graham, one of the House managers of the impeachment. It will be hard for McCain to run an effective campaign against Gore because he voted to make Gore president last year.

In short, the Republican party is committing fratricide. If Bush wins the nomination, Gore will run as the Vietnam veteran and while he may not get the votes of McCain's supporters, many may stay home. If McCain wins the nomination, many of the establishment Republicans may sit on their hands. After all, Bush and Gore are the same in that they are both sons of the two party establishment and both went to Harvard. Just as President Bush and President Clinton both attended Yale, George W. Bush and Al Gore had a grandfather and a father who served in the Senate together.

The hidden issue in the 2000 presidential campaign is President Clinton's impeachment. By trying the impeach Clinton, the Republican Party abandoned Richard Nixon. People like Senate Majority leader Trent Lott, who staunchly defended Nixon against impeachment, was instrumental in trying to remove President Clinton from office.

The Republican Party is in a state of civil war. The issue is whether the Republican Party is, in fact, a party with a program open to new members, or whether it is just an instrument for the promotion of the Bush family members to high political office. John McCain is trying to lead an assault on the two party system. Unfortunately, he crippled himself by voting for Clinton's removal from office.

This is going to be a long, hard fought election campaign all the way to November. The good news is that the voters are energized and willing to play a major role, but because the issues are complex and all the candidates seriously flawed, it will take time to sort out what is best for the nation. But the South Carolina Republican primary shows that Gore is still very much in the running.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf