- First-in-the-south Republican presidential primary ends the same way New Hampshire did, with Donald Trump in the driver's seat
- Trump won 32.5 per cent of the vote; Marco Rubio was in second with 22.5 per cent, ahead of Ted Cruz at 22.3 per cent
- From 1980 forward, no GOP candidate has won both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and gone on to lose the party's nomination
- Trump was declared the winner with just 2 per cent of the votes counted
- Jeb Bush quit the race winning only 7.8 per cent, saying he respected the judgment of Iowans, New Hampshirites and South Carolinians
- This morning Trump shrugged off suggestions that he helped with Bush's demise by calling him 'low energy' throughout the campaign
- See more on the Republican primaries at www.dailymail.co.uk/gopprimary
By Nikki Schwab, U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com and David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com In Spartanburg, South Carolina
Published: 10:00 EST, 21 February 2016 | Updated: 14:54 EST, 21 February 2016
In his first interviews since his big South Carolina win, Donald Trump was asked if he thought the nomination was in sight.
'Certainly no one's unstoppable,' Trump said. 'I'm dealing with very talented people. They are politicians. They are senators. And I guess, do we have any governors left? I don't know, let's see, I don't think so. But we have a lot of talented people.'
Seemingly forgetting Ohio Gov. John Kasich was still in the race, Trump was alluding to the other big story, besides his commanding win, that came out of South Carolina: Jeb Bush calling it quits.
'I don't know what did him in,' Trump told Jake Tapper this morning on CNN's State of the Union.
Trump dismissed the notion that Americans were voting against the Bush legacy in choosing the outsider billionaire over the third Bush to seek the White House.
'I hope not,' Trump replied. 'Because it shouldn't be. It wasn't meant to be. Jeb fought very hard. It wasn't his time. He's a very capable person.'
'It just wasn't his time,' Trump repeated.
Trump now stands at the top of the Republican pack, having earned 61 delegates, which is 50 more than No. 2 vote-getter Sen. Ted Cruz who has just 11.
'Yesterday I won every delegate, I won all seven Congressional districts on top of having a big margin,' Trump said on Face the Nation.
He has precedent on his side, with no Republican since 1980 winning both South Carolina and New Hampshire and not taking the nomination.
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'It just wasn't his time,' Donald Trump said when asked on CNN's State of the Union why Jeb Bush's candidacy failed
Donald Trump won the South Carolina Republican primary last night, a second-straight victory for the billionaire real estate mogul after his first-place finish in New Hampshire
In fact, the only candidate to win South Carolina and not take the nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, suggested that the GOP watch out.
'Nobody should kid themselves,' Gingrich said last night, according to the New York Times.
With Bush out, pressure will be on Ben Carson and Kasich to ditch the race too, as it looks like Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio have the best chance of taking down the frontrunner, a political outsider who many establishment Republicans don't want to see on the November ballot.
Rubio said this morning on Face the Nation that he planned to capitalize on the ceiling of Trump's support.
As the Florida senator explained it, Trump has about 30 percent support and then the other 70 percent of the Republican electorate says 'we're not voting for him,' Rubio suggested.
'But they're divided up among five or seven people,' he continued.
'So as that five or seven people continues to narrow down, I think it's going make the race clearer and clearer,' Rubio added.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke during a South Carolina Republican primary night event while flanked by his family members
The billionaire Republican frontrunner struck an uncharacteristically genial tone toward his two main challengers Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, shushing his crowd when they booed the two first-term senators
Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump broke her usual silence and to talk up her husband's candidacy after he won the South Carolina Republican primary
Wild cheers greeted Trump last night as he took a victory lap following a decisive primary election win that pushed his bitter rival Bush out of the race entirely.
With victories now in South Carolina and New Hampshire, Trump is the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination: No GOP candidate has ever won in both of those states without going on to represent his party in the general election.
The billionaire Republican front-runner struck an uncharacteristically genial tone toward his two main challengers Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. shushing his crowd when they booed them.
'Ted and Marco did a really good job and they did quite well as I understand,' Trump said during a victory speech that was beamed around the world.
'No, just one minute,' he said as catcalls rang out. 'We go back to war tomorrow morning.'
He gave them both credit for enduring a grueling schedule and risking their reputations in a protracted slugfest.
'There's nothing easy about running for president!' Trump exclaimed. 'It's tough, it's nasty, it's mean, it's vicious. It's beautiful.'
'When you win,' he said, 'it's beautiful.'
'Let's put this thing away!' he urged, calling on supporters in a dozen states set to vote March 1 to come to the polls for him.
With more than 99 per cent of precincts reporting results in the Palmetto State, the billionaire had captured 32.5 per cent of the vote in a six-way contest.
Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump spoke as the candidate's family celebrated victory in the South Carolina primary
Trump (second right) touched the stomach of his pregnant daughter Ivanka (second left) as he addressed supporters
Second was Rubio with 22.5 per cent. Cruz was just behind him in the third-place position with 22.3 per cent, with barely 1,000 votes separating the two first-term senators.
Former Florida Gov Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson made up the bottom half of the Republican results table with 7.8 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively.
The contrast between Trump's triumphant speech and Bush's more somber tones from moments earlier was striking.
'I firmly believe the American people must entrust this office to someone who understands that whoever holds it is a servant, not the master,' the former Florida governor said – someone with 'decency.'
'I'm proud of the campaign that we've run to unify the country, and to advocate conservative solutions ... but the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision,' he said.
'So tonight I am suspending my campaign.'
'No!' Bush's audience shrieked.
'Yeah. Yeah,' he replied, choked up.
Bush also motioned to his wife, explaining that with her at his side, it would all be OK.
'I've had an incredible life and, for me, public service has been the highlight of that life, but no matter what the future holds, here's the greatest safety landing if you can imagine,' he said.
'Tonight I'm going to sleep with the best friend I have and the love of my life.'
Hours later former President George W. Bush, who campaigned for his younger brother in South Carolina, said in a statement that he told Jeb 'how proud I am of him and his staff for running a campaign that looked to the future, presented serious policy proposals, and elevated the tone of the race.
Jeb's decision to suspend his campaign reflects his selfless character and patriotism,' the former president said.
Ben Carson, who finished the night lower than Bush on the tote board, vowed to stay in the race no matter what.
'I'm not going anywhere,' he told supporters.
Trump never mentioned Bush's name on Saturday night but mocked election analysts who predicted he could lose ground as his rivals quit their campaigns.
'A number of the pundits said, 'Well, if a couple of the other candidates drop out, if you add their scores together, it's going to equal Trump!'' he mocked during his victory speech.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3457094/It-wasn-t-time-Donald-Trump-says-doesn-t-know-low-energy-Jeb-Bush-drop-out.html#ixzz40qMd0VVn