Donald Trump cemented his status as the front-runner for the Republican nomination after the Super Tuesday contests, earning a big batch of delegates with wins in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Massachusetts, Virginia, Arkansas and Vermont.
[crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore], fighting to stay alive in the race, ended up winning his home state of Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska. The conservative senator, who also won the Iowa caucuses last month, has now won a total of four states.
[crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore], who has also been attempting to portray himself as the top alternative to Trump, won his first state of the cycle by coming in first in Minnesota.
Flanked by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who endorsed him last week, Trump held an election night press conference at his Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. “This has been an amazing evening,” Trump said, as the results in four states were still being counted. “Already we’ve won five major states and it looks like we could win six or seven or eight or nine.”
“I want to congratulate Ted on the winning of Texas,” Trump said of Cruz. “He worked hard on it. I know how hard he worked actually. So I congratulate Ted Cruz on that win. That was an excellent win.”
Trump was less gracious when it came to Rubio, who has recently ramped up his attacks. He referred to Rubio as a “little senator” while vowing to work hard in the upcoming primary in Rubio’s home state of Florida.
Speaking to a crowd in Texas, Cruz — before Rubio’s Minnesota win was announced — seem to argue it was a two-man race between him and Trump: “We’re the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump once, twice, three times,” Cruz said to applause.
Heading into Tuesday, Donald Trump held solid leads in all but three of the 11 states voting, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.
According to the Associated Press, after the Super Tuesday contests, Trump now has 316 delegates, Cruz has 226 delegates, Rubio has 106 delegates, Kasich has 25 delegates and Carson has eight delegates. It takes 1,237 delegates to win.
Ben Carson and John Kasich, who have not won any states, will likely face more calls to withdraw from the race.
Carson said Tuesday he will not drop out, as long as he has the backing of his supporters.
“As long we continue to receive their support, and the Lord keeps opening doors, I will remain in this presidential race,” Carson said. “The stakes are too high to willingly hand our country over once again to the pundits and the political class.”
Kasich, the Ohio governor, has suggested he plans to stay in until at least his state’s primary on March 15.