Cruz, Trump split 2-2
Democrat Sanders wins in Nebraska, Kansas; Clinton gets big prize in Louisiana
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.