Trump, Clinton Win Big in Arizona; Cruz, Sanders Snag Utah

Frontrunners advance delegate leads

Clinton increased her delegate lead Tuesday night. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Clinton increased her delegate lead Tuesday night. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Posted March 22, 2016 at 11:43pm

Victory in Arizona gives Donald Trump the state’s winner-take-all 58 delegates. And Hillary Clinton’s win in the state extends her delegate advantage, making the odds of a Bernie Sanders comeback even harder as the primaries lurch toward the home stretch.  

Arizona Trump’s Arizona win widens his already burgeoning lead in the GOP’s delegate race and reinforces the view that he’s the only Republican candidate who can win the nomination outright before a contested convention in Cleveland this summer.  

Despite rumblings that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was poised to make a late run, Trump ended up winning in the Grand Canyon State. Arizona’s immigration-focused GOP electorate was a perfect conduit for the front-runner’s closed-borders message. Trump also received the backing of local conservative favorite Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona’s largest county.  

Clinton’s Arizona victory bolsters the Democratic front-runner’s case that her opponent, the senator from Vermont, should begin winding down his campaign so that she can can focus on taking on the general election.  

Sanders ran into the same problem in Hispanic-heavy Arizona that he has elsewhere: He’s struggled to attract the support of non-white voters. The senator has performed well with white voters, especially young, white voters, but has struggled to attract support from African-Americans and Latinos.  

Utah Republicans in Utah, who were able to vote online until 1 a.m., kept the country waiting to see whether Cruz would post a win Tuesday night. He did, so far getting 70 percent of the vote in the caucuses, with 24% of precincts reporting. That means he’s on track to pick up all of the state’s 40 delegates. Cruz may have benefited from 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney announcing last week that he’d be voting for him there.  

Sanders handily won the state with 74% of the vote.  

Idaho Sanders won 78% of the vote in the Idaho caucuses, where 27 delegates were at stake Tuesday. They will be awarded proportionally.  

Cruz endorsement Also on Wednesday morning, the Club for Growth’s PAC announced its endorsement of Cruz for president. Previously, the Club had spoken positively about both Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. The PAC, founded in 1999, has never previously made an endorsement for president, according to its president David McIntosh.  

Cruz and the Club have a history — the group’s PAC backed Cruz in his 2012 Senate race when he ran against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was considered the favorite. That cycle, Cruz was the recipient of the PAC’s second-highest contribution  amount at $705,657, according to The Club for Growth is listed as the No. 1 contributor  to Cruz’s campaign committee since 2011.  

On the other hand, the Club has been critical of Trump’s candidacy, announcing earlier this month that it would spend roughly $2 million in ads against Trump ahead of last week’s Illinois primary. The Club’s ads have called out Trump for what it says are liberal positions on health care (comparing him to Clinton and Sanders), and his previous donations to Democratic candidates.  

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