Kasich lengthens US race

Bloomberg

Thu, Mar 17, 2016 - Page 1

Ohio Governor John Kasich lengthened Donald Trump’s road to securing the Republican US presidential nomination after Tuesday’s primaries in five states, while Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s got shorter.

The Republican frontrunner did not get the sweep he wanted, losing Ohio to Kasich. Trump’s latest political victim, US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, was beaten badly by the billionaire in his home state and suspended his campaign.

Kasich, who secured his first victory after more than 20 states have voted, vowed to continue campaigning until the party’s convention and beyond.

“We’ve got one more trip around Ohio this coming fall where we beat Hillary Clinton, and I will become president of the United States,” he told supporters in Berea, Ohio.

The split decision on Trump in the two most critical states in Tuesday’s voting increased the possibility that Republicans could be headed for a potentially chaotic national convention in July.

Trump said on CNN that he thinks “you’d have riots” if he leads in pledged delegates heading into the convention, but the party denies him the nomination.

“I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen,” he said, adding that the outcome would “disenfranchise” his supporters.

The real-estate mogul, who also won Illinois and North Carolina, remains the dominant frontrunner. However, the lack of a victory in Ohio, where all 66 delegates will go to Kasich, blocked him from the blowout that would have made him almost unstoppable.

Clinton turned her sights to the general election and Trump after decisive wins in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina and a close victory in Illinois.

With 99 percent of precincts counted in Missouri, she led Sanders by 1,531 votes out of more than 626,000 cast.

The Associated Press said it was not declaring a winner there for now because it was so close.

In a tweet, Clinton thanked voters in all five states, including Missouri.

The Republican side of the Missouri race also was tight, with Trump leading US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas by 1,726 out of more than 935,000 total votes.

Trump, too, thanked Missouri voters in a tweet.

Clinton’s victories on one of the most delegate-rich nights of the Democratic presidential contest had her supporters confident that she would emerge from the latest round of voting with a virtually insurmountable delegate lead over US Senator Bernie Sanders.

As of early yesterday, Clinton had 1,561 of the 2,383 delegates and super delegates needed to win, while Sanders had 800, Associated Press estimates showed.

The race next moves to March 22 primaries in Arizona and Utah for the Democrats and the Republicans, while the Democrats also have caucuses in Idaho on that day. After that, there are no big-state contests again on the Republican side until Wisconsin on April 5.

Candidates announced little in the way of public events yesterday after the past two-week sprint. Kasich was set to hold a town hall in Pennsylvania, where his ballot access is under challenge, ahead of its April 26 primary.