Trump, Clinton Knocking on Door

March 3, 2016 — Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump delivered strong performances Tuesday night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma. She won seven of the 11 Democratic voting entities Tuesday night (with American Samoa still to report at this writing). Sen. Bernie Sanders, in addition to his 51-41 percent win in Oklahoma, took his home state of Vermont, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.

Clinton was again dominant in the states with large African-American populations and it is probable that she once more attracted approximately 90 percent support within the black community. Sanders, however, is in the superior position among white Democratic voters. Massachusetts was the only northern state that Ms. Clinton carried, but it was close. She finished with 50.3 percent of the Bay State popular vote.

The unofficial projected Democratic delegate count, according to the New York Times, finds Clinton with 1,001 regular and Super Delegates versus Sen. Sanders’ 371. Among Super Delegates, remembering that they are not required to vote as their state does, and can change their minds even if publicly announcing support for a particular candidate, Clinton posts 457 such public commitments while Sen. Sanders captures only 22. Among regular delegates, who are committed at least on the first ballot, Clinton has a much smaller 544-349 margin. Democratic National Committee rules require a nominee to secure 2,383 delegate votes.

Trump took seven of the 11 Republican voting states; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) placed first in three, his home state of Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was victorious in the Minnesota Caucus. Trump’s strongest percentage, 48.9 percent, came in Massachusetts. Despite placing first in seven voting entities, he broke the 40 percent threshold in only two places: the aforementioned Massachusetts, and Alabama, 43.8 percent.

Projecting the delegate counts and factoring the voting thresholds per state to qualify for delegate apportionment, while taking into account the nuanced individual formulas that each state employs, we can unofficially project Trump to be in the 320 range with Cruz trailing at 225, and Rubio possessing 113 committed regular delegates. Gov. John Kasich follows with 23, and Dr. Ben Carson has eight. The party officer delegates in most states, as well as several small state delegations cumulatively totaling 247 votes, are not included in these projections since they are unbound, or free agents and similar in stature to Democratic Super Delegates, at the convention.

Though Trump has a healthy early lead, he is far from securing the 1,237 delegate votes required to clinch the party nomination. This suggests that the possibility of forcing a contested, or brokered, remains tangible.

The big question is whether Cruz, Rubio and Kasich will consciously develop a strategy to force a brokered convention. More on these ideas will be coming later in the week.

Brady Survives Scare; State Primaries

Twenty-six congressional incumbents in three states, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, faced primary challengers Tuesday night. The 21 Republicans and five Democratic members (two senators) all were successfully re-nominated.

Some Lone Star State members, such as House Ways & Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), avoided a run-off with a winning percentage of more than 50 but less than 60 (53 percent, in Brady’s case). Others in that category were representatives John Culberson (R-Houston – 57 percent), Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi – 56 percent), and Gene Green (D-Houston – 58 percent).

Therefore, the increased voter turnout largely because of Donald Trump and home state Sen. Ted Cruz’s anti-establishment presidential campaigns did not cause any incumbent to lose.

Turnout was record-setting on the Republican side. In all but Vermont, more people voted in the Republican primary last night than did four years ago in their 2012 presidential primaries, and by substantial proportions in most cases. In one instance, Virginia, GOP voter participation almost reached five times the number of people who voted in the most recent presidential primary.

In all but three states, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Sen. Sanders’ Vermont, Republican turnout substantially exceeded that of their Democratic counterparts. In every Super Tuesday state, Democratic turnout was lower than for their last open presidential race, the 2008 campaign that featured Hillary Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama.

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