In Virginia on Tuesday (Super Tuesday nationally) Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Bernie Sanders handily statewide.
She also was the big winner in the primary contests around the state, even a bigger winner than gadfly Donald Trump on the Republican side.
The Virginia Department of Elections reported Clinton winning with 64.30% (501,880 votes), Bernie Sanders at 35.19% (274,648) and Martin J. O’Malley (who suspended his campaign last month) at .51% percent (4,004).
In Floyd County, however, Sanders beat Clinton with 70.04% (935 votes), to her 29.66% and 396 votes.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump collected 353,811 votes for a narrow win with 34.81% to 31.99% for Marco Rubio at second with 324,499 votes and Ted Cruz at a distant third at 16.70% and 169,811 votes and Ben Carson even further back at fourth at 59,744 and 5.87%.
In Floyd County, Trump won with 1,021 votes (42.03%), followed by Cruz at 621 (25.57%), Rubio 482 (19.84%) and Carson 184 (7.58%).
Trump’s win in Virginia was far less than the 15 point lead over Rubioo and others forecast by polls and may show shrinkage of Trump mania.
Rubio won Minnesota and polling vowed Tuesday that he will continue in the race.
Reported Robert Costa and Phillip Rucker of The Washington Post:
Tuesday’s results exposed some vulnerabilities for Trump: He lost late-deciding voters in many states by wide margins to rival Marco Rubio, a sign that the senator from Florida may have had some impact with his withering assault on Trump’s character.
In Virginia — one of the biggest of the 11 states holding primaries or caucuses and a critical general-election battleground — Trump’s win was also narrower than the latest polls had indicated. Rubio nearly pulled off an upset, though his boost from more highly educated voters in the suburbs of Northern Virginia and Richmond was not enough to offset Trump’s command of Southwest Virginia and rural areas.
Cruz’s twin victories breathed new life into his beleaguered campaign after a string of defeats forced him to mount an impassioned last stand in Texas. Meanwhile, Rubio was projected to win Minnesota’s caucuses, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich was contending with Trump for the lead in Vermont’s primary.
Trump’s wins continue to baffle political experts and brings doom and gloom to the halls of the Republican National Committee, where party insiders continue to look for ways to stop Trump’s destructive style exposing racism, bigotry and hate within the GOP.
Increasingly, mainstream Republicans say openly now that they cannot, and will not, support or vote for Trump if he becomes the party’s nominee. Most say they might stay home in the general election in November, a move that would assure a victory that would keep the White House in the hands of the Democrats, where Hillary Clinton won key states Tuesday night and piled up more delegates in her march to her party’s nomination.
Hard-core conservative Republicans say they might bolt the party and run one of their own as a third party candidate, a move that would help defeat Trump but could also bolster the chances for a win by Clinton.
Rubio says his campaign is gaining momentum in his quest to topple Trump.
“Just five days ago, we began to unmask the true nature of the front-runner,” Rubio said. “Five days ago, we began to explain to the American people that Donald Trump is a con artist. . . . We are seeing in state after state, his numbers are going down and ours are going up.”
Rubio is hoping to peak later this month with the large, delegate-rich “winner take all” primaries.
“We are going to send a message that the party of Lincoln and Reagan — and the presidency of the United States — will never be held by a con artist,” Rubio said with what appears as growing confidence.