Clinton, Trump add to delegate lead; Cruz, Sanders stay viable
Donald Trump extended his delegate lead over Ted Cruz last night as primaries and caucuses were held in Arizona and Utah for both parties, with the addition of Idaho for the Democrats.
Trumped doubled up Ted Cruz in Arizona, defeating the Texas Senator 47-24 and taking all 58 delegates. Meanwhile Cruz crushed Trump in the Utah Caucuses 69-14, taking all 40 delegates at stake by winning more than 50% of the vote.
Clinton won the Arizona primary easily while Sanders coasted to victories in Utah and Idaho. As for delegates, Clinton has 59 pledged to her so far in the 3 states while Sanders has 58. A few delegates will be determined down the road.
The GOP primary campaign will now enter a new phase as Cruz desperately seeks to deny Trump the 1237 delegates needed for a first ballot win at the convention. This means that every single delegate will be fought over - fairly or otherwise.
“All of our projections had Trump winning AZ. We didn't play there. His road to 1,237 just as rocky,” Katie Packer, founder of the anti-Trump group Our Priorities PAC, tweeted shortly after Trump’s Arizona win.
Trump has at least 739 delegates, nearly 60 percent of the total he needs. Cruz lags far behind, while Kasich has already been mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination outright.
Attention will now turn to Wisconsin, the only state to vote in the next 27 days, on April 5. Cruz will campaign there for three straight days, starting Wednesday, as his campaign prepares to open yet another “Camp Cruz,” a dormitory for supporters willing to come knock doors on his behalf.
How nasty can it get? A Cruz SuperPac apparently used a naked photo of Trump's wife that appeared in a British publication in 2000. Trump then tweeted, deleted the tweet, and then tweeted again:
"Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!"
The message is an apparent reference to an anti-Trump group, not affiliated with Cruz's campaign, that has been running Facebook ads featuring a photo of Trump's wife posing nude for British GQ in 2000.
Cruz fired back, tweeting, “Pic of your wife not from us. Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you're more of a coward than I thought. #classless.”
More such uplifting campaigning is expected from both sides before it's all over.