Politics

Trump, Clinton Tighten Grip on Nominations

Trump won seven of the 11 states being contested on Super Tuesday. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton put more distance between themselves and their rivals on Super Tuesday, with both front-runners winning seven of the 11 states holding elections or caucuses.  

"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.   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.  

Both Trump and Clinton sounded like they were turning their attention toward each other and leaving their rivals behind. But Trump didn't completely ignore his Republican rivals, taking a shot a Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has made pointed personal attacks at Trump of late: "I know it was a tough night for Marco Rubio," he said.  

While Rubio did win his first primary in Minnesota, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took his home state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma.  

Trump romped through Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. He also picked up Massachusetts and Vermont. 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 most states.  

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. Cruz also won the GOP Alaska caucuses.  

Rubio's big test will come in his home state of Florida on March 15. Polls show him trailing Trump there.  

Ohio Gov. John Kasich flirted with his first win of the campaign in Vermont, but finished behind Trump, 33 percent to 30 percent. Kasich has put his hopes on winning his home state and neighboring Illinois and Michigan over the next two weeks.  

Clinton padded her delegate lead over Sen. Bernard Sanders with wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, primarily on the strength of her margins among black voters.  

Sanders won his home state of Vermont as well as Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma.  

Contact Dick at jasondick@rollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @jasonjdick.

Related:
What We Learned From Super Tuesday
Shelby and Sessions Stave Off Trump Wave
Ted Cruz Opens His Playbook for the 'SEC' Primary
Can the Senate GOP Hold Its Majority With Trump?

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