Tuesday, March 15, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign, with primaries in five states Tuesday and Republican front-runner Donald Trump trying to move closer to nailing down his party's nomination (all times Eastern Standard Time):
Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic presidential primary in Ohio, earning her third win in Tuesday's quintet of contests.
Clinton already scored victories in Florida and North Carolina, earning 175 additional delegates before winning Ohio.
Contests in Missouri and Illinois have not yet been decided.
The delegate lead for Hillary Clinton continues to grow thanks to a big win in North Carolina.
With 107 delegates at stake, she will win at least 56. Sanders will gain at least 24.
That means for the night Clinton has earned at least 175 delegates so far, having also won Florida. Sanders will win at least 73.
In all, 691 delegates are up for grabs in five states.
Including superdelegates, the lead is bigger. Clinton now has a total of at least 1,410, while Sanders has at least 653. It takes 2,383 to win.
Still to come: results in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois.
Republican Marco Rubio is ending his campaign for the Republican nomination for president after a humiliating loss in his home state of Florida.
Rubio told a crowd in Miami Tuesday that he knows that voters are angry and that there is a hunger for new faces and voices in government.
Rubio's decision was prompted by losses in all but three of the presidential nomination contests but Florida's winner-take-all primary proved the most devastating. Only six years earlier, he was a tea party favorite who crushed the GOP's "establishment" candidate to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.
But the political tables turned on the Florida senator as a 2016 presidential candidate who was lambasted as mainstream in a year when voters cried out for an outsider.
Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic presidential primary in North Carolina, adding to her run of victories in the South over rival Bernie Sanders.
Clinton's win in North Carolina was her second victory on Tuesday, following a triumph in Florida.
She has dominated Sanders in the South, previously capturing wins in South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.
Clinton has a significant delegate lead over Sanders, who has turned in stronger showings in the Midwest and other Western states.
North Carolina will also be considered a key battleground state in the general election. President Barack Obama won the state in 2008 but lost it to Mitt Romney four years later.
Donald Trump's big win in the Florida primary is helping him stretch his lead in the race for delegates.
Trump picked up all 99 delegates in Florida.
He now has 568. Ted Cruz has 370 delegates, Marco Rubio has 163 and John Kasich has 63.
It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.
Hillary Clinton is widening her overall delegate lead with an early win in Florida.
The Sunshine State is Democrats' biggest delegate prize of the night.
With 214 delegates at stake, Clinton is assured of winning at least 118. Sanders will pick up at least 45.
In all, 691 delegates are up for grabs Tuesday in five states.
Going into Tuesday's contests, Clinton already held a 214-delegate advantage based just on wins from primaries and caucuses.
When including superdelegates, the lead is even larger. Clinton now has a total of at least 1,353, while Sanders has at least 625. It takes 2,383 to win.
The other states voting Tuesday are North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois.
Donald Trump is once again breaking with tradition, holding an election night press conference in Florida instead of a typical victory party.
The media gathered at Trump's sprawling Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach Tuesday in a large ballroom filled with more than a dozen crystal chandeliers, gilded walls and ceilings with small cherubs overhead.
Trump clinched Florida's 99 winner-take-all primary, beating rival Marco Rubio in his home state.
Reporters will be sitting in the last two rows of chairs, with 16 rows reserved in front of them. During past Trump election press conferences, members of Trump's golf clubs and other friends have filled the front seats.
Meanwhile, Trump's official campaign account has been busy, re-tweeting several negative comments about Fox News host Megyn Kelly's election coverage.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have won the presidential primary in Florida, further solidifying their leads in the hotly contested race for the Republican and Democratic nominations.
For Trump, the Republican front-runner, Florida's all-or-nothing contest represents a momentous win, giving him 99 additional delegates — the largest in the quintet of contests taking place Tuesday. His victory deals a devastating blow to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who many in the Republican establishment had backed in the hope of derailing Trump's dash to the nomination.
Clinton will be awarded delegates proportionally in keeping with Democratic regulations, but the win still catapults her ahead of rival Bernie Sanders, who came into Tuesday's contests with fresh momentum after scoring big in Michigan last week.
About two-thirds of Republican primary voters in all five states voting Tuesday support temporarily banning non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States, but majorities in all five say they want immigrants already in the United States illegally to be allowed a chance to stay.
That's according to early results of exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks for Edison Research.
Only about 4 in 10 Republican voters in each state want all immigrants in the country illegally to be deported.
The proportion of GOP primary voters saying they want a ban on non-citizen Muslims entering the United States is as high as three-quarters in Missouri.
About 9 in 10 Republican primary voters in five states going to the polls Tuesday are unhappy with the direction of the federal government — and on average, about 4 in 10 are angry.
According to early results of exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research, majorities of Republican primary voters in all five states say they feel betrayed by politicians from the Republican Party.
In each of the five states, about half of voters say they prefer a candidate who's an outsider, while about 4 in 10 want one with political experience.
White voters make up the majority of Democratic voters in four of five states going to the polls Tuesday, but all five states included large enough percentages of minority voters to potentially affect the results.
According to early results of exit polls conducted for the Associates Press and television networks, black voters make up at least about one-fifth of the Democratic electorate in each states voting Tuesday, and in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina nearly 3 in 10 Democratic primary voters are black.
Black voters have formed an important part of Clinton's coalition in earlier states, supporting her by about a 67 percentage point margin across 15 earlier contests where entrance or exit polls were conducted. But in Michigan a week ago, they supported her by a smaller 40 percentage point margin.
In Florida, Hispanics made up about 2 in 10 Democratic and Republican primary voters. That includes about 1 in 10 GOP primary voters who are of Cuban descent.
Majorities of Democrats in five states going to the polls Tuesday say they would be satisfied with both candidates as the nominee.
According to early results of exit polls conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and television networks, voters are more likely to describe Sanders than Clinton as honest, but more likely to describe Clinton's policies as realistic.
At least half of voters in each state say each of the two candidates' positions on the issues are "about right," though voters are generally more likely to say Sanders' policies are too liberal than not liberal enough and to say the opposite about Clinton.
Democratic voters in all five states see Clinton as the candidate with the better chance to beat Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee in November.
Even before Tuesday's primary results are in, a group of conservative leaders is calling a meeting to discuss options for blocking Donald Trump's path to the Republican nomination — including the possibility of rallying around a third-party candidate.
A person familiar with the planning for Thursday's meeting says the discussion will focus first on trying to get conservatives to unite around one candidate to compete against Trump. High-dollar donors would be mobilized to pressure other candidates to go along with that plan.
The discussion will also focus on the logistics of getting a third-party candidate on state ballots, an option seen by organizers as a "lifeboat" for conservatives. Participants will discuss ballot access issues, including using an existing third party as a vehicle for a candidate or securing signatures for an independent bid.
The meeting was first reported by Politico. The person familiar with the planning confirmed the meeting on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the gathering by name.
— White House Correspondent Julie Pace
Florida election officials say Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's name was not left off ballots in a town in south Florida, despite a small number of voter complaints.
Florida is a closed-primary state, which means only registered Republicans would get a ballot listing Trump and the other GOP candidates.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said that independent voters can't vote in the primary. Bucher said Tuesday that some residents in Jupiter, Florida who were voting as independents in municipal elections complained when they didn't see Trump's name on the ballot. Bucher said none of the other presidential candidates were listed on those ballots either.
Florida's Secretary of State Ken Detzner sent out a statement reassuring voters that Trump had not been left off any presidential ballots.
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says, win or lose in Tuesday's crucial Florida primary, he's staying in the race.
He says there is no one in the race is "on pace to get 1,237 delegates," the number needed to secure the Republican nomination.
Rubio says the latest polls showing him a distant second behind GOP front-runner Donald Trump are wrong.
Rubio early voted on March 2 and is holding his primary night party in Miami.
Florida elections officials are expecting a record turnout of more than 4 million voters. More than 2 million have already made their choice by early voting or absentee. The state is a closed primary.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he spoke to Republican front-runner Donald Trump and asked him to condemn violence no matter who is responsible.
McConnell told reporters that he had a conversation with the candidate Tuesday morning, the first time the two men spoke since December.
The Kentucky Republican and the New York businessman discussed the recent violence that has marred Trump's rallies and protesters have clashed with the candidate's supporters.
Trump earlier Tuesday backed away from a suggestion that he might cover legal costs for a supporter who was caught on video punching a black protester in the face. The supporter was later charged with assault. Trump at the time said he'd asked his "people" to "look into" paying the fees. I
On ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday, he said, "I never said I was going to pay for fees." Asked if it had appeared he was encouraging violence with his initial statement, Trump replied, "Well, maybe so. Maybe that's why I wouldn't do it."