Wall Street Journal
By Patrick O’Connor and Janet Hook
March 1, 2016
New York businessman Donald Trump won Republican primaries Tuesday in Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Massachusetts, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state and Oklahoma, ensuring that the race for the GOP nomination will be extended for some time to come.
Mr. Trump’s Virginia victory is his most significant of the night so far. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida made a big push late, with four stops Sunday across the state, where his campaign hoped to tap into a highly educated electorate that exit polls showed were more likely to approve of his immigration proposals, which are less strident than Mr. Trump’s.
But it wasn’t enough for Mr. Rubio, who trailed Mr. Trump by four percentage points with more than 80% of Virginia precincts reporting results.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich hoped to defeat Mr. Trump in Vermont, but early returns showed Mr. Trump leading there too.
Contests in Alabama, Massachusetts and Tennessee were big enough Trump wins to render a verdict within minutes of the polls closing.
Too few votes have been counted to determine the direction of races in Arkansas, and exit polls didn’t immediately reveal a winner. Messrs. Trump, Cruz and Rubio were in three-way fights there.
The early victories for Mr. Trump bolster his claim on the GOP presidential nomination, as some party officials grope for ways to stop his juggernaut campaign. The prospect of Trump losses in Texas and Virginia had buoyed rivals who are trying to prevent him from building a massive delegate lead on the most crowded day on the nominating calendar.
The outcome on Super Tuesday could go a long way in determining the GOP nominee, and testing the strength of the front-runner’s support. Mr. Trump’s rise has electrified his supporters and terrified detractors who are convinced his comments about Mexican immigrants and other topics will cripple the party in November.
The race now turns to a pair of swing states that are home to two of his remaining rivals—Mr. Rubio in Florida and Gov. John Kasich in Ohio. Mr. Trump can knock either from the race by beating him on his home turf.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the only Republican to defeat Mr. Trump this primary season, faced his own crucible Tuesday in the Lone Star State. After devoting more time and money to other Southern states that voted on Tuesday, the senator found himself playing defense back home in Texas as the balloting began.
“There is no doubt: Any candidate that cannot win his home state has real problems,” Mr. Cruz said Tuesday before casting a ballot near his home in Houston. “If you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don’t want to give this election to (Democratic front-runner) Hillary Clinton, I ask you to stand with us today. Super Tuesday is the single best opportunity to beat Donald Trump.”
The problem for Mr. Trump’s rivals—as it has been since the voting began—is that there remain too many of them for voters to coalesce behind a single alternative. Messrs. Cruz, Kasich and Rubio are all trying to outlast each other to set up a head-to-head matchup with Mr. Trump, but time is dwindling for a candidate other than the former reality TV star to collect enough delegates to win.
“I know Donald’s going to make some mistakes when he gets to Washington, but who hasn’t?” said William “Ducky” Wall, 77 years old, a retired golf pro from Georgia who backed the New York billionaire. “I think he can shake things up.”
Tuesday marked the first chance for the remaining Republican contenders to test their strength across different segments of the electorate. Roughly 60% of Republican primary voters in Virginia support legal status for immigrants in the country illegally. In Alabama, 54% of GOP primary voters said immigrants in the country illegally should be deported.
Mr. Trump’s February winning streak triggered a backlash from his rivals and other elected GOP officials petrified by the prospect of the brash billionaire topping the ticket. His detractors are desperately trying to hatch strategies to deny him the nomination, including a bruising convention fight that could alienate his supporters.
No Republican has been more vocal than Mr. Rubio. After spending much of the past year trying to avoid direct confrontations with his rivals for the nomination, Mr. Rubio has resorted to calling Mr. Trump a “con artist,” questioning his wealth and even suggesting the front-runner urinated on himself during the most recent candidates’ debate last Thursday night.
Mr. Trump has responded to the broadsides by referring to Mr. Rubio as “Little Marco” and dismissing his digs as a feeble attempt to claw his way back into the race. In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, Mr. Trump called on Mr. Rubio to exit the race. “I think he has to get out,” he said. “He hasn’t won anything, and Ted Cruz rightly points out, you know, Marco has not won.”
The front-runner found himself embroiled in a potentially more serious controversy over the weekend when he hesitated to disavow the support of David Duke, a former Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Trump eventually disavowed Mr. Duke’s support and blamed his initial response on a bad earpiece during his CNN interview.
But the episode underscored Republicans’ fear that Mr. Trump may imperil GOP candidates at every level of the ballot, if primary voters make him the nominee.
On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton used the David Duke episode to tell a Minneapolis crowd she was “very disappointed” Mr. Trump didn’t immediately disavow the former Klan leader’s support. “I’m just speaking out against bigotry and bullying wherever I hear it,” she said. “And I hear a lot of it from the Republican candidates.”
Mr. Trump’s Republican detractors have grown louder and more strident as the front-runner gets closer to clinching the nomination. A pair of retiring GOP congressmen—Reps. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Scott Rigell of Virginia—joined South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford and Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo in vowing not to vote for Mr. Trump, even if he becomes the nominee. They followed former Republican National Committee Chairmen Mel Martinez and Ken Mehlman, among other current and former elected and party officials.
“Trump is a bully, unworthy of our nomination,” Mr. Rigell wrote his constituents on Monday night. “To live with a clear conscience, I will not support a nominee so lacking in judgment, temperament and character needed to be our commander-in-chief.”
Mr. Trump entered Super Tuesday with 82 delegates, following wins in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and a second-place finish in Iowa. Mr. Cruz was his next-closest rival, with 17, and Mr. Rubio was right on his heels, with 16. Mr. Kasich has six, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has five.
Republicans in 11 states were set to allocate 595 delegates Tuesday, the biggest one-day haul of the year. But because party rules require each state to divide its delegates proportionally, the five remaining contenders each had a shot to collect a few more delegates. Texas alone will allocate 155 delegates.
Mr. Rubio spent Tuesday night back in Miami, staying away from the Super Tuesday states in an effort to get a head start on the race that will decide the fate of his campaign moving forward.
Not to be outdone, Mr. Trump was also set to hold his last Super Tuesday event in the Sunshine State, at his posh club Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com