21 Feb 2016

Bush drops out of Republican race

3:39 pm on 21 February 2016

Republican Donald Trump remains out in front in the presidential nomination race with a victory in South Carolina, while Jeb Bush stands down and Hillary Clinton wins narrowly in Nevada.

Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ohio Governor John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Carson at a debate in South Carolina.

Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ohio Governor John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Carson at a debate in South Carolina. Photo: AFP

Mr Trump easily defeated Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He won despite getting into controversy with Pope Francis and a debate performance that raised questions about his temperament in the days before the voting.

The victories by Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton solidified their positions as the front-runners to win their parties' respective presidential nominations ahead of the 8 November election.

Meanwhile, the former favourite in the Republican contest, Jeb Bush, has suspended his campaign after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.

The son of former President George H W Bush and brother to the former President George W Bush, Mr Bush also fared poorly in earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

He said the race had been "hard fought" but that voters had spoken.

In what appeared to be a jab at Mr Trump, whom Bush has accused of lacking ideas, the former Florida Governor said, "ideas matter, policy matters".

After South Carolina, the Republican presidential campaign will rapidly pick up steam in March when dozens of states hold nominating contests.

Another candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, is concentrating on midwestern and northern states in the state-by-state contest to pick nominees for the election.

Clinton narrowly edges out Sanders

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton beat back a strong challenge from Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses.

Her victory could help calm Democratic Party worries about the strength of her campaign.

But Bernie Sanders' ability to close a one-time double-digit polling lead for his rival suggested the Democratic nominating race would be long and hard fought.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Photo: AFP

Mrs Clinton's victory in the Nevada Democratic caucuses could help calm Democratic Party worries about the strength of her campaign.

Her win denied Mr Sanders the breakthrough win he sought in a state with a heavy minority population.

But his ability to close a one-time double-digit polling lead for his rival suggested the Democratic nominating race would be long and hard fought.

-Reuters, BBC

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