Republican Donald Trump rolled to victory on Saturday in South Carolina presidential primary to solidify his status as the front-runner.
Trump easily defeated Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who were in a close fight for second place and the right to declare themselves the anti-Trump alternative.
With 99 percent of South Carolina precincts reporting, Trump had 32.5 percent, followed by Rubio with 22.5 percent and Cruz with 22.3 percent.
In a family-affair victory speech, Trump ticked off his policy promises, vowing to terminate President Barack Obama's health care law and get Mexico to pay for a wall at the border.
"We're going to start winning for our country because our country doesn't win anymore," said Trump, with his wife, Melania, and daughter Ivanka at his side.
On the Democratic side of the presidential race, Hillary Clinton beat back a strong challenge from Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, a result that could help calm worries among supporters about the strength of her campaign.
It was Trump's second victory in a row, after New Hampshire on Feb. 9, an outcome that frightens establishment Republicans but thrills the "throw-the-bums-out" conservative base of the party that has long been fed up with Washington.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who was battling with Ohio Governor John Kasich for fourth place, ended his presidential campaign and his dreams of becoming a third Bush president after his father and brother.
"The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision," an emotional Bush said in Columbia.
Florida's Rubio used his top-tier finish to bill himself as the mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, candidates many GOP leaders believe are unelectable in November.
"This has become a three-person race," Rubio declared.
Cruz harked back to his win in the leadoff Iowa caucuses as a sign he was best positioned to take down Trump.
He urged conservatives to rally around his campaign, saying pointedly, "We are the only candidate who has beaten and can beat Donald Trump."
After South Carolina, the Republican presidential campaign is about to rapidly pick up steam in March when dozens of states hold nominating contests.
Trump won a majority of the delegates in the South Carolina primary — at least 44 of the 50 — and has a chance to win them all.
Trump leads the overall race for delegates with 61. Ted Cruz has 11 delegates, Marco Rubio has 10, John Kasich has five, Jeb Bush has 4 and Ben Carson has three.
It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.