Live Blog: Western Tuesday and the Returns of the DayPosted: March 22, 2016
We’ve got primaries and caucuses to discuss this evening! The election has gone West big time as states up and down the nation’s Rocky Mountains take to the voting booth. Dynamics here may be different than the nation’s east coast and the south. These states have populations of Native Americans and Hispanics as well as many white people. Additionally, they’re home to many of the Nation’s National Parks and natural resources. What’s in store for tonight?
On March 22, three states and one territory will hold nominating contests in the 2016 presidential election.
Arizona will hold a primary for both Republicans and Democrats, Idaho will hold Democratic caucuses, Utah will hold both Republican and Democratic caucuses and American Samoa will hold Republican caucuses.
Both Trump and Clinton are expected to boost their leads from the previous primaries. This particular primaries may not provide windfalls for any one, but should continue the trend.
Eager to move beyond a divisive primary season, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seek to pad their delegate lead over their underdog rivals as the 2016 race for the White House moves West on Tuesday.
Arizona and Utah feature contests for both parties, while Idaho Democrats also hold presidential caucuses. Trump and Clinton hope to strengthen their leads in delegates that decide the nominations, as Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted Cruz and John Kasich struggle to reverse the sense of inevitability taking hold around both party front-runners.
“I have more votes than anybody,” Trump charged on the eve of the elections as he courted skeptical Republican officials in Washington. “The people who go against me should embrace me.”
A firm delegate lead in hand, Clinton looked past Sanders ahead of Tuesday’s contests and instead sharpened her general election attacks on Trump. “We need steady hands,” she said, “not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who-knows-what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable.”
Despite the tough talk, both Trump and Clinton face challenges on Tuesday.
Trump’s brash tone has turned off some Republican voters in Utah, where preference polls suggest Cruz has a chance to claim more than 50 percent of the caucus vote and with it, all of Utah’s 40 delegates. Trump could earn some delegates should Cruz fail to exceed 50 percent, in which case the delegates would be awarded proportionally based on each candidate’s vote total.
Kasich hopes to play spoiler in Utah, a state that prizes civility and religion. A week ago, the Ohio governor claimed a victory in his home state his first and only win of the primary season. Yet Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, is telling his fellow Utah voters in a recorded phone message that Cruz “is the only Republican candidate who can defeat Donald Trump.”
Monday, March 21
Mr. Sanders may face a daunting delegate deficit after his defeats on March 15, but he may be on the verge of a wave of successes.
Tuesday begins a series of contests in friendly territory for him. He is a strong favorite in both Utah and Idaho, where he could win by a two-to-one margin or better. A win in Arizona would show his resilience after a weak performance last week. Even if he fails to sweep the three states, he could follow up with strong performances in Hawaii, Washington, Alaska and Wisconsin over the next few weeks.
Of course, Mr. Sanders needs a lot more than a sweep of Western caucuses to erode Mrs. Clinton’s big lead in pledged delegates. But a string of sizable victories could blunt the pressure on him to withdraw from the race and could keep his fund-raising efforts strong as he heads into bigger and more competitive contests in April.
Results will be coming in late — very late, in some cases. Arizona is holding primaries, with polls closing at 7 pm local time. Utah is holding caucuses in person and, for Republicans, online; online voting doesn’t end until 11 pm local time.
Arizona and Utah, as well as Democrats in Idaho and Republicans in American Samoa, vote Tuesday. Arizona is the biggest prize of the day, with 85 delegates to be awarded in the winner-take-all Republican primary and 85 delegates to be divided proportionally among Democrats. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are leading their respective parties in the limited Arizona polling. According to HuffPost Pollster’s average, Trump is ahead by a 17 percentage point margin with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 20 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 16 percent. But there have only been three polls in the last month, and only one in the last week. On the Democratic side, Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 26 points, 58 percent to 24 percent, according to the one poll conducted in the past month.
Utah appears to be Cruz territory – Polls are scarce in Utah, but Cruz is widely expected to win the caucus. The most recent poll, conducted by Republican firm Y2 Analytics, shows Cruz leading with 53 percent. Kasich is in second place with 29 percent and Trump trails with 11 percent. Utah’s 40 delegates for Republicans will be distributed proportionally among the candidates unless one reaches 50 percent, in which case all the delegates will go to the winner.
Sanders is running a close race in Utah and Idaho – A Dan Jones/Deseret News/KSL poll released Monday shows Sanders leading Clinton with 52 to 44 percent in Utah, while a month-old survey from the same pollster shows the two candidates in a close race in Idaho. The 37 delegates up for grabs in Utah and the 27 delegates in Idaho will be distributed proportionally.
So, it’s time to grab your popcorn and curl up for our live blog! I know we have a few voters out there! Let us know what you hear from your state and what your voting day was like!