Posted at 11:29 p.m. on March 1
Donald Trump put more distance between himself and his rivals on Super Tuesday, winning at least six of the 11 states being contested.
“This has been an amazing evening,” Trump declared at his exclusive Mar-al-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and said he was expanding the Republican Party’s base. He also took a shot at Rubio: “I know it was a tough night for Marco Rubio,” he said.
Rubio has ratcheted up personal shots at Trump since he went on the attack against the front-runner in a debate last week, calling him a “con man” in a swing through Super Tuesday states ahead of the vote.
Although Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state and neighboring Oklahoma, Trump was able to romp through Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. He also picked up Massachusetts. Cruz had long looked to the so-called SEC primary states and their evangelical base as home turf but Trump has consistently taken those voters away from him in earlier contests.
A loss in his home state could have been a fatal blow to Cruz’s campaign. and his inability to dominate the South calls into question whether he can catch Trump as the primaries move north and east, where Trump has had success and Cruz has not.
Trump’s wins will intensify calls for the also-rans to drop out of the race and stop splitting the vote between them so that one candidate can take on Trump head-to-head. Cruz issued that call himself in his victory speech in Texas, asking for the other candidates who have not won a state to join him to unify the party and stop Trump.
Rubio picked up his first win in Minnesota but his big test will come in his home state of Florida on March 15. Polls show him trailing Trump there.
At 11:30 p.m. ET. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was leading in Vermont, which would be his first win of the campaign. He has put his hopes on winning his home state and neighboring Illinois and Michigan over the next two weeks.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton padded her delegate lead with wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, primarily on the strength of her margins among black voters. “What a Super Tuesday!” Clinton said at a victory party in Miami.
Her rival, independent Sen. Bernard Sanders, won his home state of Vermont as well as Oklahoma and in the Colorado caucuses.
Polls were still open in Alaska, the 11th Super Tuesday state.
Already taking aim at Trump, Clinton repeated what has become a mantra as of late. “America never stopped being great,” she said, jabbing at Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” slogan. “We have to make America whole. We have to fill in what’s been hollowed out,” she added.
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