Republican candidates battle to keep campaigns alive

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio are locked in a high-stakes political chess match in South Carolina in a bid to pull ahead in the Republican primary race - or at least keep their campaigns afloat if they don't.

See Full Article

The manoeuvring comes as some Republican leaders fear Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will begin piling up the delegates needed to secure the nomination before one of the more mainstream candidates can consolidate the support of voters turned off by the brash billionaire and Texas senator, who so-called establishment Republicans believe could jeopardize the party's chances of winning in November's general election.

"We do need to get the field down to Trump, Cruz and somebody," said Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee heavyweight from Mississippi.

The Democratic field is already down to two candidates - Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton is counting on strong support among African-Americans who twice backed her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to act as a firewall against the surprisingly strong insurgent campaign of Sanders.

The only thing that is clear heading into Saturday's pivotal Republican primary in South Carolina appears to be Trump's grip on the lead following his victory in the New Hampshire primary. Cruz, the winner of the Iowa caucuses, is also in the mix for a strong finish.

But the more mainstream lane populated by Bush, Kasich and Rubio is more jumbled. Bush's campaign now sees an opening to capitalize on Rubio's fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, while Kasich's strong second-place showing there has given the Ohio governor reason to keep his campaign going until primaries in friendlier territory in the Midwest. Rubio's team, meanwhile, is quietly confident that South Carolina will prove to be a comeback story for the Florida senator.

Kasich's finish in New Hampshire has scrambled what might have been a do-or-die contest between Bush and Rubio in South Carolina. After initially viewing the first-in-the-South primary as too much of a long-shot for a moderate Midwesterner, Kasich abruptly changed his schedule this week and announced plans to campaign in South Carolina almost every day until Saturday's primary.

"Exceeding expectations is why we're there," Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf said.

For Kasich, exceeding expectations would be to finish ahead of Bush, the former Florida governor. Bush has deep family ties to South Carolina - his father and brother each won two Republican primaries here - and a poor showing Saturday could leave him without a compelling rationale to keep his campaign going.

As the third major contest in the primary campaign, South Carolina is accustomed to settling divergent results in Iowa and New Hampshire, with the winner here emerging as the nominee in each presidential cycle from 1980 to 2008. But those typically were two-man contests as the race headed South: Ronald Reagan dispatched George H.W. Bush in 1980, the elder Bush defeated Bob Dole in 1988 and George W. Bush topped John McCain 12 years later.

This time, the gaggle of candidates means there's no clean divide on ideology, personality or anything else.

Even before South Carolina votes, Republican leaders are making the case that candidates who aren't competitive need to swallow their pride and let go of their presidential ambitions.

Katon Dawson, a former South Carolina Republican Party chairman who remains unaligned, put it more bluntly. He said that if a candidate finishes in the single digits Saturday, "you ought to quit."

In the Democratic race, both Clinton and Sanders are making specific appeals to black voters after Sanders won a 22-point victory in last week's New Hampshire' primary, creating a potential opening with black voters for the self-described "democratic socialist."

The Democratic candidates are vying for support in Saturday's Nevada caucuses and then facing off in South Carolina on Feb. 27. Blacks make up more than half of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina and several other southern states.

-----

Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Bill Barrow in South Carolina, and Chad Day and Julie Bykowicz in Washington contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Your name is, ma’am?'; Accused cop killer interrupts judge while facing new charges

    World News Toronto Sun
    ORLANDO, Fla. — A day after an expletive-laced court appearance on charges he killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend, a fugitive was more subdued but still interrupted and refused to answer questions when he went before a judge Friday on five new charges filed against him in the death of an Orlando police officer. Source
  • Tim Hortons co-founder loses bid to have sex-assault suit tossed

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — A woman’s lawsuit alleging that the billionaire co-founder of Tim Hortons sexually assaulted her at his home will have to be decided at a full-blown trial, Ontario’s top court ruled Friday. Ron Joyce, 86, who has painted the woman with whom he had a one-time intimate relationship as a “pathological extortionist,” had wanted the Court of Appeal to find he had already paid his 36-year-old accuser to stop pushing the assault allegation before she sued him for $7.5 million in 2013. Source
  • New Jersey cop left out gun daughter, 8, used to kill herself

    World News Toronto Sun
    STRATFORD, N.J. — Authorities say a New Jersey police officer left his personal .357-calibre revolver loaded and unsecured on a shelf before his 8-year-old daughter fatally shot herself. The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office announced child endangerment charges Friday against Kenneth Righter, of Stratford. Source
  • Mars investigating Skittles said to be intended for cattle

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A mysterious Skittles spill on a rural highway in Wisconsin is taking another twist, with Mars Inc. saying it doesn't know why the discarded candy might have been headed to become cattle feed. Source
  • Floating strip club owner says he was unfairly targeted

    World News Toronto Sun
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska man convicted of illegally dumping human waste into a harbour while operating a floating strip club said Friday he plans to appeal whatever sentence is imposed Friday afternoon. Hours before his sentencing following his conviction on federal charges that could land him in prison, Darren Byler claimed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he was targeted because of disapproval over the business he ran on the 94-foot “Wild Alaskan,” a converted…
  • Pepper spray and stun grenades: Confrontation near Trump parade route escalates [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Donald Trump, and while the majority of those expected in Washington on Friday will be there to celebrate, some protesters say their plan is to do their best to disrupt the day. Source
  • Group plans interactive Titanic museum for Niagara Falls

    Canada News CTV News
    An interactive museum that hopes to recreate the experience of sailing on board the Titanic may be coming to Canada. A group in Niagara Falls, Ont., has conditionally purchased land that would house the museum and is moving ahead with plans to launch an exhibit dubbed "Experience Titanic. Source
  • God Bless America, Mourning in America: Dueling social media trends on inauguration day

    World News CTV News
    As Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America on Friday, social media exploded with people reacting to the momentous event. “God Bless America,” “Mourning in America,” “Donald J. Source
  • God Bless America, Mourning in America: Duelling social media trends on inauguration day

    World News CTV News
    As Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America on Friday, social media exploded with people reacting to the momentous event. “God Bless America,” “Mourning in America,” “Donald J. Source
  • Tim Hortons billionaire co-founder loses bid to have sex-assault suit tossed

    Canada News CTV News
    GRAPHIC CONTENT warning: Some of the details in this story are disturbing. TORONTO -- A woman's lawsuit alleging that the billionaire co-founder of Tim Hortons sexually assaulted her at his home will have to be decided at a full-blown trial, Ontario's top court ruled Friday. Source