Recap: The Democrats’ Nevada Caucuses, GOP South Carolina Primary

South Carolina and Nevada are in the books. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton squared off in the Nevada Democratic Caucus on Saturday, while Donald Trump won the South Carolina Republican Primary with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz following behind.

Here's a recap of the elections, complete with reporting and analysis from NBC News reporters and producers.

What you need to know

  • Real-time results: Find up to the minute numbers from Nevada and South Carolina.
  • Delegates at stake: Nevada has 43 Democratic delegates up for grabs; 35 pledged and eight super-delegates. South Carolina has 50 Republican delegates for the taking.
  • Full coverage: Find full coverage of the races, including up-to-the minute delegate tracker, at Decision 2016.


Leigh Ann Caldwell

And that's a wrap

From all of us here at NBC News, good night. Go to bed. Peel away from your screen. Enjoy your family. And see you in the morning for fresh programming here on, on Meet the Press, on MSNBC or any other way you can think of to tune into NBC.

Until next time....

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Rubio Takes Second

Rubio edges out Cruz for second place in South Carolina. But he only gets bragging rights. Donald Trump won every delegate because he won every Congressional district. That leaves no delegates left for Rubio. Or any other candidate.

On to Nevada!

Katie Primm

Trump Sweeps South Carolina

Donald Trump has been allocated all 50 of South Carolina's delegates by NBC News.

Katie Primm

Nearing the Final Delegate Count in Nevada

Based on results in Nevada, NBC News has allocated 19 delegates to Clinton and 15 to Sanders as of 10:36 p.m. EST. In addition, Clinton has the backing of 3 of the 8 Super Delegates in Nevada and Sanders has the backing of 1 Super.

So the delegate count overall in Nevada is Clinton 22 and Sanders 16. There is one Congressional district delegate that has not been allocated yet to either candidate and four super delegates have not yet expressed a preference.

Make sure to follow tonight's results with NBC's Delegate Tracker here.

Ted Cruz to Supporters: We Continue to Defy the Pundits

Ted Cruz's third place finish in tonight's South Carolina primary serves as an example of conservatives once again defying odds against the media and the 'Washington Cartel,' the Texas senator said.

"Once again we've made history," he said. "You the good people of South Carolina and our incredible volunteers all over the country continue to defy the pundits and produce extraordinary results."

Cruz is currently competing for second place with Sen. Marco Rubio. Both are currently tied with 22 percent of the vote.

Image: GOP Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Holds Primary Watch Party In Columbia, SC
Sen. Ted Cruz addresses the crowd at a watch party for the candidate after finishing third during the South Carolina primary on Feb. 20, 2016. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images) Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Cruz has consistently finished in the top three since the Iowa caucuses, where he finished in first place with 22 percent of the vote. In the New Hampshire primary, he came in third place behind Donald Trump and John Kasich.

His strong finishes are a reason why Trump has sharpened his attacks against the Texas senator.

"That's why Donald relentlessly attacks us and ignores all the other candidates" Cruz said.

Cruz also mentioned Gov. Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race earlier tonight. He called the former Floridian governor "a man who didn't go to the gutter and engaged in insults and attacks," rather one who "brought honor and dignity to this race."

Carrie Dann

The Delegate Count as of 9:30 PM

Of the 43 delegates from Nevada, NBC News is now allocating 22 to Hillary Clinton and 16 to Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, NBC News has allocated 44 out of 50 delegates to Donald Trump.

Make sure to follow tonight's results with NBC's Delegate Tracker here.

Andrew Rafferty

Rubio: GOP Race Down to Three

Marco Rubio said the battle for the GOP presidential nomination is, "practically speaking," down to three candidates.

Rubio will finish in the top three in South Carolina, rebounding from a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. He stands to gain from Jeb Bush's exit from the race, and could prove to be the Republican establishment-backed candidate to challenge Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Rubio: GOP race a three-way contest 9:50

"Tonight in South Carolina, the message is pretty clear: This country is now ready for a new generation of conservatives to guide us into the 21st century," Rubio said at his primary night rally Saturday.

The Florida senator praised Bush, his one-time mentor who he frequently sparred with on the campaign trail.

"He's an extraordinary husband, he's an extraordinary father, he was the greatest governor in the history of Florida," Rubio said.

Rubio said he hopes Bush's "service to our country has not ended."

Marco Rubio: This is Now a 3-Way Race 10:23

A Trump Coloring Book Exists

A Trump Coloring Book Exists

Being given out by Post Hill Press at the Trump party.

Andrew Rafferty

Trump to Supporters: 'Let's Put This Thing Away'

Donald Trump called on supporters to help him "put this thing away" while celebrating his second-straight primary victory on Saturday.

The South Carolina victor predicted he is going to do well in the Republican Nevada caucuses on Tuesday and on the March 1 primary states.

Trump Triumphant in South Carolina 14:31

He said rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio "did a really good job," over some objections from supporters who did not appreciate the kind words.

"Tomorrow morning we'll be back," he assured them.

Trump did not, however, mention Jeb Bush -- who moments before Trump took the stage announced he would suspend his campaign. From the moment he entered the race, Trump relentlessly went after Bush, branding him "low energy."

Also speaking at Trump's victory event were daughter Ivanka and wife Melania Trump.

"He will be the best president!" Melania Trump said.

Trump during SC win: We're gonna do the wall 14:09

South Carolina Exit Poll Results: Jeb Bush Didn't Stand Out

Jeb Bush's campaign started with great expectations - and a boatload of cash - but came to an end after competing in only three contests. The NBC News Exit Poll in South Carolina shows how he was unsuccessful in carving out a clear rationale for his campaign.

Looking Back at the Highs and Lows of Jeb Bush's 2016 Campaign 2:08

When voters were asked who would be the best candidate to deal with a number of issues, Bush ranked near the bottom of the list. On the economy, only 10 percent named him as the best man for the job. A similar 11 percent named him as the candidate who they want handling Supreme Court nominations. He did slightly better when voters were asked which candidate would best handle an international crisis, but his 18 percent showing on this issue still trailed three other candidates.

Jeb Bush Suspends Presidential Campaign

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, once considered the Republican Party's most likely presidential nominee, is ending his campaign after a dismal showing in South Carolina's primary.

"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign," he told backers in the Palmetto State.

Read more here.

Bush Suspends Presidential Campaign 6:56

Ben Carson: "I'm Not Going Anywhere"

Ben Carson dispelled any rumors that he would be dropping out of the Republican presidential race, telling supporters that he's "not going anywhere."

"There are news people here who think I'm going to make a concession speech. This is just-the-beginning speech," he said.

Carson, a former neurosurgeon, told his supporters that he still embodies what a "true outsider" means. He said that since entering politics, he has come to realize how "disgusting" it is and called Washington politicians "a piece of filth."

Is Trump the new Republican Party standard? 2:42

"I never tried to buy anybody or sell anybody...that's an insider thing," he said. "We're funded by 'We the People' and I will steadfastly continue to refuse to give money from people who try to influence me."

Carson's long shot campaign makes it unlikely that he will finish in the top three in the South Carolina primary. He finished with 9% of the vote in the Iowa caucus and with 2% after the New Hampshire primary.

But the campaign plans to move forward. Carson's campaign manager Ed Brookover told NBC News that they have "plenty of money, plenty of volunteers, plenty of supporters" to make it to Super Tuesday.

Upon hearing about Jeb Bush's exit from the race, Brookover said that the campaign sees it as an opportunity.

"Governor Bush is a fine gentleman and was a good governor of Florida. He gave a great contribution to this race. And we look forward to trying to attract his supporters," he said.

Andrew Rafferty

Kasich Campaign Sends Not-So-Subtle Message to Jeb Bush

With less than a quarter of the vote counted in South Carolina, John Kasich's campaign was already calling on Jeb Bush to end his presidential run.

"Tonight it became a four-person race for the nomination. Only four candidates have top-three finishes in any of the early states and can justify staying in," Kasich strategist John Weaver said in a statement.

"John Kasich has now won the so-called 'Governors Bracket' by continuing to run strong and beat expectations," he said.

Kasich and Bush are running neck-and-neck for fourth place, well behind projected winner Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Kasich's team highlighted that the Ohio governor spent much less money than his rivals did in the Palmetto State. They had downplayed expectations there coming off his strong second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Kasich held a watch party for Saturday night's results from Massachusetts, a state he hopes to do well in on March 1.

South Carolina Exit Poll Results: GOP Voters Still Angry

Four in 10 Republican voters (40 percent) feel angry about the way the federal government is working and another 52 percent are dissatisfied, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Just 7 percent feel satisfied about Washington. Donald Trump took 42 percent of the vote among angry voters, while dissatisfied voters split their vote almost evenly among Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Trump.

The Republican nomination contest has been dominated by the angry voter, and they don't seem to be getting any less angry as the campaign rolls on. South Carolina voter attitudes toward the federal government are very similar to the views expressed by voters in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.

South Carolina Exit Poll Results: Most Voters OK With Variety of Nominees

Few South Carolina Republicans say they would only be happy if their choice actually won the party's nomination, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. In fact, 67 percent say they would be satisfied with at least one of the other candidates as the GOP standard-bearer. Only 30 percent said that they would settle for nothing less than their choice winning the nod. Nearly half of this "all or nothing" group is firmly behind Donald Trump's candidacy.

South Carolina Exit Poll Results: Outsider Status Propels Trump

South Carolina primary voters are divided over whether they want an insider or outsider in the White House next year. Nearly half (48 percent) say they would like the next president to have political experience, but a nearly identical number (47 percent) prefer someone from outside the political establishment. The overwhelming majority (61 percent) of voters who want an outsider decided to back Donald Trump today. Those who prefer political experience split their vote between Marco Rubio (36 percent) and Ted Cruz (31 percent).

Republican voters in New Hampshire and Iowa were also divided on their political experience preferences, although they were slightly more likely to prefer an outsider than their counterparts in the Palmetto State.

Trump Watch Party Goes Wild

Trump Watch Party Goes Wild

Here's how everyone in the room reacted when Donald Trump was projected the winner of the South Carolina primary:

Following the news, agents told NBC News embed Ali Vitali that no more people were allowed in to the event because they had reached capacity (the room holds 1,500 per a sign). There was still a crowd of people waiting to get in, though, ahead of Trump's victory speech.

The Scene at Jeb Bush Gathering

The Scene at the Jeb Bush Gathering

Jeb Bush was in fourth place in the SC Republican primary, trailing far behind projected winner Donald Trump, as well as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who were in second and third place as of the latest NBC News projection.

Here's what the scene looks like at his election night gathering in Columbia, SC.

Journalism students from Ithaca College took over the NBC News Snapchat account from Columbia, South Carolina. They talked to young voters about the primary and checked-in with young campaign volunteers throughout the day.

Add "nbcnews" and follow along -

South Carolina Exit Poll Results: How Trump Won

Donald Trump performed best among Republican voters who were looking for a candidate who "tells it like it is," receiving 77 percent of their support, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. He also did extremely well among those who want the next president to come from outside the political establishment, getting 60 percent of this group's vote.

While few South Carolina Republicans said the most important issue facing the country is immigration, nearly half (47 percent) of this group backed the man who promised to build an enormous wall across the Mexican border. Trump also got a 54 percent majority of the vote from those who made up their minds more than a month ago.