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Clinton thunders to big win in South Carolina

Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders by double digits, dominating the minority vote in the diverse southern state.

Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory in South Carolina's Democratic primary Saturday, giving the Democratic frontrunner a decisive boost of momentum heading into the Super Tuesday contests in just three days.

Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders by double digits, dominating the minority vote in the diverse southern state and showcasing a broad coalition that's expected to deliver another series of victories for her when Democrats in 11 more states head to the polls on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow, this campaign goes national!" she told supporters at a victory speech in Columbia. "We are going to compete for every vote in every state, and we're not taking anything or anyone for granted."

Clinton had long led by a wide margin in polling of the Palmetto State, where African American voters make up more than half of the Democratic electorate. Sanders did not appear in the state at all Saturday, campaigning instead in Texas and Minnesota as voters in South Carolina headed to the polls.

The former secretary of state bested Sanders by particularly wide margins among black voters and women, while Sanders more narrowly led among white voters and young people.

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Exit polls showed that Clinton even outperformed Barack Obama's performance among black voters in 2008, winning an overwhelming 87 percent support from a group that made up 61 percent of the electorate.

The victory is the second in a row for Clinton, who triumphed in a hotly contested race last weekend in Nevada.

And it is a moment of redemption for the 2008 candidate, whose campaign against Barack Obama eight years ago reached one of its nastiest points before her big loss in South Carolina that year.

In a statement, Sanders congratulated Clinton on the win but vowed to fight on in the coming contests.

"This campaign is just beginning. We won a decisive victory in New Hampshire. She won a decisive victory in South Carolina," he said. "Now it's on to Super Tuesday. In just three days, Democrats in 11 states will pick 10 times more pledged delegates on one day than were selected in the four early states so far in this campaign. Our grassroots political revolution is growing state by state, and we won't stop now."

Sanders has focused his pitch on Super Tuesday states like Minnesota, Massachusetts and his home state of Vermont, where minorities make up a smaller share of the Democratic vote.

But Clinton has also campaigned and advertised in Alabama, Texas and Virginia - states with more diverse electorates and fewer self-described independents.

Both Sanders and Clinton referenced GOP frontrunner Donald Trump as they weighed in on the results of the South Carolina contest.

"When we come together, and don't let people like Donald Trump try to divide us, we can create an economy that works for all of us and not just the top 1 percent," Sanders said in his statement.

And Clinton also took a swipe at Trump's slogan: "Make America Great Again."

"America has never stopped being great," she said in her victory remarks. "But we do need to make America whole again."

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