ON Tuesday night, March 15, five more states held key presidential primary contests–Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri–where two party candidates emerged as front-runners of the race.
Hillary Clinton swept all five contests in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Ohio, racking up more delegates to solidify her lead for the Democratic nomination. The victories bolster Clinton’s claim that she is her party’s only candidate who can win diverse states that will be pivotal in the November general election, CNN reported, even despite her surprise loss in Michigan last week.
“We are moving closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November,” Clinton told supporters during a victory speech in West Palm Beach, Florida, where her biggest win (214 delegates, 64 percent of the vote) took place.
Clinton added that by the end of the night, she would have two million more votes than her opponent, Bernie Sanders, and hold a lead of more than 300 delegates.
“We are going to stand up for American workers and make sure no one takes advantage of us–not China, not Wall Street, not overpaid corporate executives,” she said.
In exit polls conducted by NBC News, of those who voted across the five states in the Super Tuesday primaries, only about half of Democrat primary voters say they would be satisfied with the outcome if their favored candidate doesn’t end up the eventual nominee.
About half of Clinton supporters in those states say they would be satisfied if Sanders were the eventual party nominee.
Sanders would need to win about 72 percent of the remaining delegates in order to do so, according to CNN estimates, and time may be running out for him unless he can start racking up huge victory margins in coming state contests. However, most Democratic strategists expect Sanders to stay in the race for several months.
Clinton’s campaign strategy has been questioned recently, particularly with Sanders’ big win in Michigan, but gave the Vermont senator a tougher climb for the nomination after winning more of the Midwest. Clinton’s multiple victories on Tuesday foreshadowed a general election battle with Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.
Trump prevailed in the biggest contest of the night, winning in Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois.
“This was an amazing evening,” he said from Palm Beach, Florida, where he gained 99 delegates–the top prize–and 46 percent of the state vote. “This is my second home, Florida. To win by that kind of number is incredible.”
The New York real estate billionaire has won in 18 states so far.
“We’re going to make our country rich again. We’re going to make our country great again, and we need the rich in order to make the great, I’m sorry to tell you,” he said.
Gov. John Kasich managed to best Trump in his home state of Ohio, ridding him of 66 crucial delegates.
“We are all very, very happy,” Kasich told CNN. Despite his win in only one state, it is unclear how he can overtake Trump, who is far ahead in the delegate race.
“I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land,” he told supporters in Cleveland. “I’m getting ready to rent a covered wagon; we’re going to have a big sail and have the wind blow us to the Rocky Mountains and over the mountains to California.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also claimed “a good night” from a rally in Houston. He and Trump are locked in a tight battle for Missouri, where the Associated Press reported extremely tight ratings throughout the night. In the end, Cruz was second in the state, winning 40.7 percent of the vote (and zero delegates) to Trump’s 40.9 percent.
At the end of the night, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, having lost disastrously in his home state, dropped out, leaving three Republican candidates in the race.
“America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami and we should have seen this coming,” Rubio, who has been fighting bitterly with Trump, said in his final speech. “While we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side.”
Trump, however, was sweet in his last words to Rubio, congratulating the senator for “having run a tough campaign.”
“He is tough. He is smart and he has got a great future.” (Allyson Escobar/AJPress)