Another day, another set of presidential nominating caucuses.
Today, Maine Democrats held their 2016 caucuses, while Puerto Rico Republicans went to the polls to cast ballots in that territory’s primary. (Residents of territories don’t get a say in which person gets elected as President, but they do get to participate in the selection of the nominees, thanks to party rules.)
In Maine, Bernie Sanders cleaned up, prevailing easily over Hillary Clinton. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, got his first real win of the nominating season, taking about three quarters of the vote in Puerto Rico’s primary. Thirty delegates are at stake in Maine and twenty-three are up for grabs in Puerto Rico.
Here are the current results in Maine:
|Candidate||State Convention Delegates||%||National Delegates|
|Bernie Sanders||2,231 delegates won||64.3%||15 (estimated)|
|Hillary Clinton||1,232 delegates won||35.5%||7 (estimated)|
Bernie’s victory in Maine means he can now add another state to his victory column, for a total of eight. He won three states this weekend (all were caucus states), while Hillary Clinton sailed to victory in the Louisiana Democratic primary.
Sanders had a good weekend, but Clinton may well return to her winning ways on Tuesday in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries. The Sanders camp is hoping to be competitive in Michigan. It’s likely that Clinton will do very well in Mississippi, which borders Louisiana and Alabama, where she has already trounced Sanders.
Sanders’ victories this weekend give him a nice boost ahead of potential losses on Tuesday. Should Clinton beat him, he will have an opportunity to bounce back in the Northern Marianas Democratic caucuses next weekend, where eleven delegates will be at stake. After that, it’s on to “Mini Tuesday”.
Sanders will definitely still be a candidate at the end of March, when Democrats in Washington State hold their caucuses. Alaska and Hawaii Democrats will (not coincidentally) be caucusing on the same day — Saturday, March 26th.
Now, here are the results in Puerto Rico, with 25% reporting:
|Marco Rubio||73.6%||6,159 votes|
|Donald Trump||13%||1,092 votes|
|Ted Cruz||9%||757 votes|
|John Kasich||1.2%||98 votes|
It certainly looks like Marco Rubio is going to end the weekend with a much-needed win. Puerto Rico may be a territory, but that hardly means it’s not important. In fact, Puerto Rico has more delegates than the state of Hawaii, which will hold its Republican caucuses this coming Tuesday. (19 delegates are at stake.)
Still, Rubio’s path is a steep one. Ted Cruz was the top choice of Republicans in Kansas and Maine in yesterday’s Republican caucuses… not him. Cruz has won more states than either of Donald Trump’s two other rivals.
But unfortunately for Cruz, neither Rubio nor John Kasich are heeding his calls to drop out and support him… which just goes to show that his influence in key circles in the party pales in comparison to his popularity with the base.
Cruz can argue that it’s a two-man race between himself and Donald Trump. But Rubio and Kaisch’s home states will be voting a week from this Tuesday. Neither man is going to leave the race prior to competing there. If Rubio loses Florida to Trump, it’s hard to see how he continues on.
Kasich, meanwhile, can’t afford to lose Ohio, as he has yet to win a single state. Even Rubio has gotten over that symbolic hurdle. Kasich is only still in the race because he came in second in New Hampshire. But he still lost that state to Trump.