Super Tuesday: Clinton, Trump pick up big wins; Cruz takes Texas
The winners so far:
- Ted Cruz wins Alaska, Oklahoma and Texas
- Marco Rubio wins Minnesota
- Donald Trump wins Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia
- Hillary Clinton wins Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia
- Bernie Sanders wins Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Vermont
Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have won the Texas primaries, according to a CNN projection based on exit poll data.
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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations while Ted Cruz will win Super Tuesday’s biggest prize: Texas.
Voters went to the polls in a dozen states Tuesday and CNN so far projects six wins for Clinton and five for Trump. Clinton will take Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas while Trump will win Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia.
Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s insurgent Democratic rival, will capture Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont.
Cruz’s projected Texas victory, meanwhile, is a crucial win that gives him a rationale to carry on in the race. He is certain to point to his score there, combined with his victory in the Iowa caucuses, as proof that only he can actually beat Trump and to argue that his Senate colleague, Marco Rubio, should exit the race and allow him to unite the opposition to the billionaire. Cruz has also won in Oklahoma, according to a CNN projection.
Trump’s Virginia win is especially disappointing to Rubio, who had hoped a win there would kick-start his effort to challenge the real estate mogul.
Clinton’s victories in the South are further evidence of her strength among African-American voters, which could make it extremely difficult for Sanders to win the nomination.
“What a Super Tuesday,” Clinton said at a rally as word of her victories trickled in.
The Super Tuesday contests are a delegate bonanza for front-runners and a test of survival for others as voters went to the polls across the nation, including in the Deep South, in Colorado and Texas, in ice-bound Alaska and Minnesota.
Trump’s victories could help him stretch his lead in the GOP White House battle and underscore his growing support across all sectors of the Republican coalition. Those wins come despite Trump spending the past several days embroiled in a GOP fight that has rival candidates and party elders, desperate to stop his march to the nomination, branding him unfit for the presidency.
Sanders, who is keen to challenge the growing narrative that the former secretary of state is now on track to win the nomination, hopes to halt the Clinton tide in Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma, in addition to Vermont.
“This campaign is not just about electing a president,” Sanders said at a rally Tuesday night in Vermont. “It is about transforming America.”
A total of 595 Republican delegates of the 1,237 needed to clinch the GOP nomination are up for grabs in 11 states. Sanders and Clinton are facing off in 11 states for 865 of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic race.
A pivotal moment
Super Tuesday comes at a pivotal moment in the Republican race. It has finally dawned on rival campaigns and alarmed party establishment figures that Trump — after three thumping wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will win the nomination unless there is a dramatic reversal of fortunes.
In an unusual move that reflected his booming confidence, Trump held a rally in Ohio, a state that is not taking part in Super Tuesday but holds a crucial winner-take-all primary in two weeks. In the latest surreal twist to his increasingly bizarre showdown with Rubio, Trump said that he had “beautiful hands” after the Florida senator asked at an earlier rally why the real estate mogul’s hands were so small.
Cruz, speaking to reporters before casting his ballot in Houston, did not wait for the results to roll in before signaling that he will try to nudge Rubio and Kasich out of the race.
“If you want to beat Donald Trump, we’ve got to get to a head-to-head, one-on-one race,” Cruz said. “What Donald is benefiting from is a fractured opposition.”
But Rubio, who held election day rallies in Oklahoma and Minnesota, made it clear that he isn’t going anywhere.
“I will campaign in all 50 states. I will get in my pickup truck and drive around this country if I have to before I allow the party of Lincoln and Reagan to fall into the hands of a con man,” Rubio said, referring to Trump.
Trump, who has turned American politics upside down with his outsider campaign, nationwide media blitz and crusade against political correctness, went into Super Tuesday with his polling hitting new peaks.
Super Tuesday was once seen by the Cruz campaign as the moment when he would build on his support among ideological and evangelical conservative voters and sweep across the South. But Trump upset his best-laid plans.
Now Cruz is left with a nervous wait to see if he will win his home state of Texas, which has the most delegates available Tuesday with 155. Failure to convert a win on home ground would effectively end his campaign.
It won’t be possible for Trump to clinch the nomination outright Tuesday night. The contests will award delegates proportionally based on a candidate’s share of the vote as long as they reach a certain threshold.
Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are clinging to the hope that they could win their own states on March 15, when contests start to become winner-take-all affairs, and eventually overhaul Trump’s delegate total.
Clinton’s aides know that she cannot knock out Sanders on Tuesday, but they hope to end the night with a lead of around 100 earned delegates.
Sanders is making clear that despite the size of his defeat in South Carolina he is nowhere near giving up his campaign, though the candidate himself appears to have rock-bottom expectations in the South.
In Massachusetts, in his last pre-Super Tuesday rally on Monday night, the Vermont senator had an upbeat message.
“Tomorrow there will be 700 delegates up for deciding. We anticipate winning many of them and a majority of them right here in Massachusetts,” he said.
Clinton, however, appeared to be looking toward the general election — and Donald Trump.
“I was very disappointed that he did not disavow what appears to be support from David Duke and the Klan,” the former secretary of state told reporters. “That is exactly the kind of statement that should be repudiated upon hearing it.”