Clinton eyes big South Carolina win

People arrive to vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary in Columbia, South Carolina 27/02/2016.Image copyright

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Polling stations are open for 12 hours until 19:00 local time (24:00GMT)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are facing off in the South Carolina primary, the latest battleground for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Mrs Clinton is seen as the favourite to clinch the state.

But on the eve of the vote, Mr Sanders was endorsed by Robert Reich, a former official in Bill Clinton’s presidential administration.

Both contenders are hoping to build momentum ahead of “Super Tuesday” primaries in 11 states next week.

South Carolina is the Democrats’ fourth nominating contest since the primaries began on 1 February.

Read more: On the campaign bus with Hillary Clinton

“The South Carolina primary is personally important to me because I want to send a strong signal that South Carolina is ready for change, ready for progress, ready to make a difference,” Mrs Clinton, 68, told a rally in the state capital Columbia on Friday.

Eight years ago, she lost the state overwhelmingly to then Senator Barack Obama.

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Bernie Sanders is believed to have invested few resources in South Carolina , focussing on other states

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Hundreds of mostly African American voters gathered for an annual oyster roast and fish fry visited by both candidates

Observers say a victory here would also establish Mrs Clinton as the firm favourite among black voters, a key section of the Democratic electorate, and set her up to garner a big haul of delegates in Super Tuesday contests in the South.

Rival Bernie Sanders, 74, a veteran senator from Vermont, is not expected to do well in South Carolina and commentators say he has struggled to gain traction.

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