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SC politics: Trump has commanding lead

SC State House
SC State House ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The 2016 Donald Trump phenomenon is not going away.

    The New York real estate mogul holds a commanding lead in a poll released Tuesday of likely S.C. GOP presidential primary voters.

    Trump received 30 percent support — doubling the second-place contender, retired surgeon Ben Carson, according to the poll from Monmouth University in New Jersey.

    They are followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 9 percent, former executive Carly Fiorina at 6 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at 6 percent and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 5 percent.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina each received 4 percent. The two had been vying for second place in spring polls.

    Graham and Trump sparred a bit again Tuesday after they had a spat last month that included Trump outing the senator’s cellphone number. Graham told CNN, “I'll beat his brains out” in South Carolina.

    Trump tweeted back: “Congrats @LindseyGrahamSC. You just got 4 points in your home state of SC — far better than zero nationally. You’re only 26 pts behind me.”

    About one in 10 likely GOP primary voters has not chosen a favorite, according to the Monmouth poll.

    A wide group of voters back Trump, who will campaign Thursday in Greenville. He leads among conservatives, moderates and Tea Party supporters, Monmouth found. Trump tops Carson 33-18 among evangelical Christians.

    The former reality TV star even leads among female voters —25-18 over Carson — despite criticism over sexist comments.

    Monmouth polled 453 S.C. voters last week who cast a ballot in the 2012 or 2014 Republican primary or general election and planned to vote in the Feb. 20 presidential primary. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

    12 Columbia, Richland officials endorse Clinton

    Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has picked up more support from Columbia and Richland County leaders, her campaign said Tuesday.

    The endorsements come from 12 current and former Richland and Columbia officials: Columbia Mayor Pro Tem Sam Davis; Columbia Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine; Arcadia Lakes Mayor Mark Huguley; Eastover Mayor Geraldine Robinson; Richland Treasurer David Adams; Richland County Council members Joyce Dickerson, Jim Manning and Kelvin Washington; former Richland council members Bernice Scott and Kit Smith; and Richland school board members Aaron Bishop and Monica Elkin-Johnson.

    Former S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges endorsed Clinton, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and former Mayor Bob Coble already have endorsed Clinton.

    State workers won’t pay more for insurance

    S.C. public employees will not pay more for health insurance next year, but their employers will.

    The State Fiscal Accountability Authority unanimously approved Tuesday the health-care rates that legislators wrote into this year’s budget. Those rates called for no change to employees’ monthly premiums or co-payments.

    However, state agencies, school districts, and other public employers will pay 4.5 percent more starting Jan. 1 to cover rising health-care costs.

    Andrew Shain, Jamie Self, Associated Press

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