A Look Back: WMBF News Decision 2016 primary coverage in South C - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

A Look Back: WMBF News Decision 2016 primary coverage in South Carolina

At one point there were 17 GOP candidates looking to take on Democratic candidate leaders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Source: WMBF News) At one point there were 17 GOP candidates looking to take on Democratic candidate leaders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - At one point there were 17 GOP candidates looking to take on Democratic candidate leaders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

In time for South Carolina's First in the South primary in February, the number of candidates on the GOP side had already started to dwindle.

A special WMBF Presidential Primary Preview in January helped you learn where the leading five GOP candidates and two Democratic candidates stood on some of the big issues such as gun control, I-73 and offshore drilling. 

We sent a crew to Charleston for the GOP debates, days before the primary. There, in the debate before the debate, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee duked it out, trying to win over voters just over a month before the presidential primaries.

Each weighed in on issues like national security and the economy on the stage, but off the stage, all three addressed another thing bothering them - how they weren't allowed to join the main debate. 

On the main stage, they addressed the usual topics like jobs and took plenty of jabs. 

 "I'll tell you what, if this all works out, I'm happy to consider naming you as VP. So if you happen to be right, you can get the top job at the end of the day," said Senator Ted Cruz to then-candidate Donald Trump.

"No, I think if it doesn't. No, no. I like that, I like it. I'd consider, but I think I'll go back to building buildings if it doesn't work out. I have a feeling it's going to work out actually," Trump retorted. It did, in fact, work out for the president-elect.

"With Rubio as president, everyday will be a great day in America," said Governor Nikki Haley, endorsing Marco Rubio,  just three days before the GOP primary Feb. 20. But in the end, Trump would win, with Rubio edging out Cruz for second place. 

"Marco Rubio really needed this win and make no mistake, it's a win. He may not be in first place, but showing strong in second," said CCU Political Professor Holley Tankersley, while appearing on WMBF News in February.  Our team of reporters were at the top three watch party locations for reaction. 

And a week later, it would be the Democratic candidates' turn, but the race, not nearly as close. Our team at Clinton's watch party and our political expert, CCU Professor Holley Tankersley, again, interpreted the results for you. 

"The margin is really surprising, especially if you base it on polling from the last few weeks. Where Secretary Clinton was about 25 points ahead, it looks like she's going to outperform that, and certainly that is a big surprise," Tankersley said. 

Of course, despite that win, November's election was hardly what Clinton or her supporters expected.

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