Super Tuesday Special Report - March 2, 2016

Super Tuesday Special Report - March 2, 2016

Presidential Primaries

Both Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) delivered strong performances last night in their respective Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, but neither could land the knockout punch for which they hoped.

Clinton continued her dominance in the south, but surprisingly stumbled in Oklahoma.  She won seven of the eleven Democratic voting entities last night, with American Samoa still to report.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), in addition to his 51-41% win in Oklahoma, took his home state of Vermont, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses. Massachusetts was the only northern state that Clinton carried, but it was close.  She finished with 50.3% of the Bay State popular vote.
 
The unofficial projected Democratic delegate count, according to the New York Times, finds Clinton with 1,001 regular and Super Delegates versus Sen. Sanders’ 371.  Among Super Delegates, remembering that they are not required to vote as their state does, and can change their minds even if publicly announcing support for a particular candidate, Clinton posts 457 such public commitments while Sen. Sanders captures only 22.  Among regular delegates, who are committed at least on the first ballot, Clinton has a much smaller 544-349 margin.  Democratic National Committee rules require a nominee to secure 2,383 delegate votes.
 
Trump took seven of the eleven Republican voting states; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) placed first in three: his home state of Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was victorious in the Minnesota Caucus.  Trump’s strongest percentage, 48.9%, came in Massachusetts.  Despite placing first in seven voting entities, he broke the 40% threshold in only two places: the aforementioned Massachusetts, and Alabama, 43.8%. 
 
Projecting the delegate counts and factoring the voting thresholds per state to qualify for delegate apportionment, while taking into account the nuanced individual formulas that each state employs, we can unofficially project Trump to be in the 320 range with Cruz trailing at 225, and Rubio possessing 113 committed regular delegates.  Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) follows with 23, and Dr. Ben Carson (R) has eight.  The party officer delegates in most states, as well as several small state delegations cumulatively totaling 247 votes, are not included in these projections since they are unbound, or free agents and similar in stature to Democratic Super Delegates, at the convention. 
 
Though Trump has a healthy early lead, he is far from securing the 1,237 delegate votes required to clinch the party nomination.  This suggests that the possibility of forcing a contested, or brokered, convention remains tangible.
The big question is whether Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich will consciously develop a strategy to force a brokered convention.  More on these ideas will be coming later in the week.

Turnout was record-setting on the Republican side.  In all but Vermont, more people voted in the Republican primary last night than did four years ago in their 2012 presidential primaries, and by substantial proportions in most cases.  In one instance, Virginia, GOP voter participation almost reached five times the number of people who voted in the most recent presidential primary.
 
In all but three states, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Sen. Sanders’ Vermont, Republican turnout substantially exceeded that of their Democratic counterparts.  In every Super Tuesday state, Democratic turnout was lower last night than for their last open presidential race, the 2008 campaign that featured Hillary Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama.
 
Brady Survives Scare; State Primaries
 
Twenty-six congressional incumbents in three states, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas, faced primary challengers last night.  The 21 Republicans and five Democratic members (two Senators) all were successfully re-nominated.
 
Some Lone Star State members, such as House Ways & Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), avoided a run-off with a winning percentage of more than 50 but less than 60 (53%, in Brady’s case).  Others in that category were Reps. John Culberson (R-TX-7) who tallied 57%, Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27) who ended with 56%, and Gene Green (D-TX-29) who recorded 58% support. 
 
Therefore, the increased voter turnout largely because of Donald Trump and home state Sen. Ted Cruz’s anti-establishment presidential campaigns did not cause any incumbent to lose.