Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Take Commanding Leads in Super Tuesday Showdown
Posted on: March 2, 2016, 10:42h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2016, 04:11h.
Update March 2, 2016: Since we first published this story, back-of-the-field GOP runner Ben Carson has announced that he sees “no path forward” in his campaign. Although he has not officially ended his run as yet, it’s expected that he may do so when he speaks on Friday at a Washington, D.C. conference.
Anyone who’s considered Donald Trump as some fringe candidate that would eventually fizzle out of the Republican race when voters came to their senses got a big splash of cold water on Super Tuesday. Sweeping most of his races with a substantial lead, the Donald proved he is here to stay in the 2016 presidential process.
Long thought to be the firewall to the billionaire’s campaign, Super Tuesday turned instead into an accelerant for Trump’s race to the White House.
By end of day, the former casino magnate and reality show star had won seven of the 11 states up for grabs, including the politically conservative Georgia, the potential swing state Virginia, and the Bible Belt’s Arkansas and Alabama. Trump also took Massachusetts, Vermont, and Tennessee.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz managed to rally his valuable home state, as well as Oklahoma and Alaska, while Florida Senator Marco Rubio scored his first victory in Minnesota.
“This has been an amazing evening … it’s really been great,” Trump said during a victory press conference. “It was a very tough night for Marco Rubio … he is a lightweight.”
Clinton Keeps Pace
Super Tuesday was supposed to be Cruz’s night, as the religiously conservative senator was hoping to pounce on the southeastern United States’ heavily evangelist Christian base. Instead, voters largely went for the twice-divorced Manhattanite in Trump.
That takes the 2016 presidential race one giant step closer to the showdown that’s been impending for weeks: Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump in the general election.
Tuesday was no surprise on the Democratic side either, as the frontrunner extended her lead over challenger Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Like Trump, Clinton took seven states in all to Sanders’ four.
In her victory speech at the end of the day, Clinton didn’t waste time in attacking Sanders. Instead, she went after her likely GOP challenger.
Taking a jab at Trump’s “Make America Great Again!” slogan, Clinton said, “We know we’ve got work to do, but that work, that work is not to make America great again. America never stopped being great.”
Clinton won Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas. Sanders won his home state of Vermont, plus Colorado, Oklahoma, and Minnesota.
There were no Spotlight surprise moments on Tuesday, with several races being called the minute polls closed by television news outlets rushing to declare the victor first. Cruz and Sanders both took their home states, as expected, and the favorites Trump and Clinton took the all-important Virginia.
Cruz winning Texas and Rubio sweeping Minnesota for his debut victory only put Trump closer to securing the GOP nomination.
The two main challengers to Trump doubled down late Tuesday, reiterating that they aren’t dropping out to support each other. And Ohio Governor John Kasich and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, running fourth and fifth respectively, said they too aren’t suspending their campaigns.
Rubio and Cruz, perhaps oddly, spoke last night as if they were the big winners.
“So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump’s path to the nomination remains more likely,” Cruz claimed. “For the candidates who have not yet won a state … I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together.”
Rubio said of his runner-up finish in Virginia, “We basically fought Donald Trump to a draw despite having to share the ballot with a number of people who probably took votes away,” the senator said, referring to also-rans Kasich and Carson.
Final Delegate Count on Super Tuesday
Republican (1,237 needed for nomination)
Democratic (2,382 needed)
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