Trump’s win was much narrower Tuesday in the Michigan primary than in Mississippi, but the real story may be that, with 71% of the vote tallied, Ted Cruz is still neck and neck with John Kasich for second place in Michigan. (Cruz is within 500 votes of Kasich right now. Both have a little over 245,000 to Trump’s 365,000+, or 36.7%.) Marco Rubio is well back at around 9%.
It took the networks some time to call Michigan for Trump. They had no such qualms in Mississippi, which was called for Trump basically as soon as the polls closed.
With a nice lead over Cruz — 47.7% to 36.6% — Trump will get all of Mississippi’s delegates. Kasich, with a little over 8%, and Rubio, with about 5%, got no “viability” jolt at all from the Magnolia State.
The Idaho polls close at 9 PM Mountain (11 PM Eastern). The Hawaii polls don’t close until 1 AM Eastern.
A couple of snapshots to while away the time.
As expected, on the Democratic side, Hillary ran away with Mississippi, beating Bernie out there with 83% of the vote.
Bernie is hanging in there in Michigan, however, still clinging tenaciously to a narrow but healthy lead with 70% of the vote tallied. Although it’s still possible for Hillary to surge, it’s looking less likely at this point.
It will clearly become a good question why Rubio is still in the race. Trump has a big lead over him in the latest Florida poll (although Rubio is reported to have a big lead over Trump among early voters). I wouldn’t urge anyone to do what I myself don’t intend to do — i.e., vote “strategically,” as opposed to voting for the candidate I think is the best guy — but if you like to think in strategic-voting terms, Cruz seems like the one. He’s doing better than expected in Michigan today, and keeps coming in a strong second in contests Trump isn’t winning outright, but only getting pluralities in.
If Hillary loses Michigan, that will be a big black eye for her. The Democrats have got to be worried.
* UPDATE * …and Bernie did it. Hillary closed it up by about 7,000 or 8,000 votes, but with 97% of precincts in, Bernie’s still ahead by 50% to 48.1% for Hillary. Hillary won the Detroit environs by a significant margin — but Detroit’s not the 800-pound gorilla it used to be. Bernie outran her in all but six of the other counties.
Cruz has a big lead in Idaho now, and it does look like somebody finally called it for him. He’s up 42% and change to Trump’s 29%. Rubio’s back at 18%. Assuming these numbers hold (reporting is at about 46% right now), Cruz and Trump will split the Idaho delegates.
* UPDATE 2 * Getting one lick in before signing off: the early returns in Hawaii have Trump with a commanding lead. He’s at 48%, Kasich 20%, Cruz 17%, Rubio 12%, with 4% of the vote tallied.
A Michigan update on the GOP side: Cruz is pulling away from Kasich to nail down the number 2 slot. With 98% of the vote in, he’s up by over 8,000 votes, 24.9% to Kasich’s 24.3. That’s close, but Kasich needed to reverse that result to keep his viability case strong. Not happening. Kasich may be number 2 in Hawaii, but Michigan is the one that counts. This is a big outcome for Cruz.
* UPDATE 3 * OK, OK, one more update. Hawaii’s caucus results are being really volatile so far. Cruz was initially way ahead of Kasich; then Kasich pulled way ahead of Cruz just before I added Update 2. With 20% of the vote in, Cruz is back to being way ahead of Kasich. Trump is still in the upper 40s; Cruz is at 28%, and Kasich has faded to 4th place, with 11% to Rubio’s 12.4%. Cheers, night owls.