MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - With almost 240,000 votes, billionaire businessman, Donald Trump keeps his front-runner status in the Republican Party. This is not a surprise to many political experts who expected him to take the Palmetto State. But people weren't quite sure where Florida senator Marco Rubio or Texas senator Ted Cruz would fall in the polls.
Ultimately, it was just about 1,000 votes that set Rubio up for a second place position. Some say Governor Nikki Haley's endorsement of Rubio was just the bump his campaign needed to get him ahead of Cruz. Cruz was projected to do very well in South Carolina among evangelicals, but ultimately, he failed to win over any of the state's 46 counties.
Holley Tankersley, a professor at Coastal Carolina University says, "It really is a three man race now. Trump, Cruz and Rubio and not necessarily in that order. But certainly as they move forward, it was incredibly important that Marco Rubio perform well here in South Carolina. Even though a close margin between second and third, it really gave him some momentum that he didn't have so much coming out of New Hampshire."
Now that the Republican Primary is over, what comes next?
The South Carolina Democratic Primary will take place next Saturday as Democratic contenders, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, compete for your votes. Clinton's win in yesterday's Nevada primary will give her some momentum coming into the Palmetto State. From there, Super Tuesday on March 1st, will be on the minds of many, as 12 states will host their respective primaries.
But even with some candidates leading the polls, party conventions will have the last say.
Jeb Bush decided to suspend his campaign shortly after the winner's were announced. With Bush out of the race, his followers could go toward Rubio, which would make for a closer margin between him and Trump. As for John Kasich and Ben Carson, there's no word on what their plans are moving forward.