Cruz, Trump split 2-2

Demo­crat San­ders wins in Ne­braska, Kansas; Clin­ton gets big prize in Louisiana

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin John­son and Paul Singer Con­tribut­ing: The (Louisville) Courier-Jour­nal, The Shreve­port Times and As­so­ci­ated Press

Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump, Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ners, stum­bled in four cau­cuses Satur­day, but re­bounded in the Louisiana pri­mary, the big­gest del­e­gate pile of the day.

Bernie San­ders won the Kansas and Ne­braska Demo­cratic cau­cuses, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz beat Trump in the Repub­li­can cau­cuses in Kansas and Maine. Trump won the Repub­li­can cau­cuses in Ken­tucky.

But Trump and Clin­ton both won in the Louisiana pri­mary.

Florida Sen. Marco Ru­bio and Ohio Gov. John Ka­sich both trailed badly in all the Satur­day con­tests, and neu­ro­sur­geon Ben Car­son dropped out of the race Fri­day. Ru- bio went to Puerto Rico on Satur­day, hop­ing for a win in the GOP pri­mary there Sun­day.

“God bless Kansas,” Cruz told sup­port­ers in Idaho, mo­ments af­ter the first Satur­day race was called. “And the scream you hear — the howl you hear from Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — is ut­ter ter­ror for what we the peo­ple are do­ing to­gether. What we’re see­ing is con­ser­va­tives com­ing to­gether.”

San­ders, who still trails Clin­ton badly in the to­tal del­e­gate count, made no sug­ges­tion he would de­clare de­feat.

“We have the­mo­men­tum,” San­ders said Satur­day night in War­ren, Mich. “We have a path to­ward vic­tory. Our cam­paign is just get­ting started and we are go­ing all the way to the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia.”

Clin­ton fo­cused her at­ten­tion on the gen­eral elec­tion. “The stakes keep get­ting higher,” Clin­ton said in Detroit, mo­ments af­ter the Louisiana race was called for her. “In­stead of build­ing walls, we’re go­ing to be knock­ing down bar­ri­ers.”

Trump skipped a sched­uled Satur­day ap­pear­ance at a con­fer­ence of con­ser­va­tives near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to push his un­suc­cess­ful bid in Kansas, mak­ing per­sonal ap­peals for sup­port at his trade­mark rau­cous ral­lies.

Satur­day night he con­grat­u­lated Cruz on his vic­to­ries, and said he was en­joy­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. “There is noth­ing so ex­cit­ing as this stuff,” Trump said at a Florida news con­fer­ence. He called on Ru­bio to drop out of the race, so he could face Cruz one-onone. But nei­ther Ru­bio nor Ka­sich ap­pears ready to do so.

The Satur­day con­tests — wedged be­tween Su­per Tues­day vot­ing ear­lier in the week and con­se­quen­tial bat­tles later this month in Michi­gan, Ohio and Florida — did not garner the same hot spot­light, though Kansas vot­ers showed up in force at cau­cus sites through­out the state.

The state tra­di­tion­ally has not voted this early, and Satur­day marked the first time a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee had been se­lected by cau­cus since 1984.

Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul, who bowed out of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial race last month, pushed for the change to a cau­cus so he could also pur­sue re-elec­tion to his Se­nate seat, a de­ci­sion that Satur­day won de­cid­edly mixed re­views.

Repub­li­can Gov. Matt Bevin said the move helped bring early at­ten­tion to the state, where Trump head­lined a rowdy gath­er­ing in Louisville.

“Look at this — there are lines of peo­ple wait­ing to vote,” said Bevin, who de­clined to say which can­di­date he voted for. “For ev­ery­body who thinks that hav­ing a cau­cus in Ken­tucky was not a good thing, have you ever seen this kind of en­thu­si­asm for a pri­mary in the state of Ken­tucky? You never have.”

Yet some vot­ers said the Repub­li­can Party failed to ad­e­quately pub­li­cize the change, lead­ing to wide­spread con­fu­sion.

In Louisiana, with 800,000 reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans, the cam­paign has been shad­owed by se­ri­ous eco­nomic trou­bles as state of­fi­cials are strug­gling to rec­on­cile yawn­ing bud­get deficits that threat­ened ba­sic pub­lic ser­vices.

For­mer Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jin­dal, once part of the crowded field of GOP can­di­dates, dropped out of the race in Novem­ber af­ter gain­ing lit­tle sup­port.

“Have you ever seen this kind of en­thu­si­asm for a pri­mary in the state of Ken­tucky? You never have.” Gov. Matt Bevin, declar­ing the state’s un­usual cau­cus a suc­cess


Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in Wi­chita, Kan., on Satur­day that he has a list of govern­ment pro­grams he’ll elim­i­nate if elected.

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