John Kasich Archives - Page 6 of 28 - Florida Politics

Ted Cruz says Americans have “a clear choice going forward”

Ted Cruz declared a victory (of sorts) Tuesday, despite coming up short in four of the five Republican primaries.

“Tonight was a good night,” he said. “Tonight we continued to gain delegates and continued our march to 1,237. And, after tonight, America now has a clear choice going forward.”

Cruz was neck-in-neck with Donald Trump in Missouri, with unofficial election results from Missouri showing the two virtually tied as of 11 p.m. EDT.

In North Carolina, Cruz came in second with nearly 37 percent of the vote. Trump came in first with nearly 41 percent. Cruz also came in second in Illinois with 30 percent, trailing Trump, who was projected to win the state’s 24 delegates with 39 percent of the vote. He came in third in Florida and Ohio.

Cruz told supporters he’s the only candidate to defeat Trump time and time again. The Texas Republican has won nine Republican primaries.

Cruz told supporters he plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare; “pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS”; and “rein in the EPA and government regulators that are killing small businesses.”

“Going forward, the choice is straightforward,” Cruz said. “Starting tomorrow morning, there is a clear and direct choice. For everyone who wants to see a brighter tomorrow, we welcome you.”

Donald Trump celebrates victories in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina

Donald Trump promised to continue to “win, win, win” after victories in at least three of the five states holding Republican primaries Tuesday.

Trump won primaries in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. He came in second in Ohio, trailing John Kasich. The Missouri Republican primary was too close to call late Tuesday night.

The New York businessman clobbered Marco Rubio in Florida. He received 46 percent of the vote, while Rubio received 27 percent in the Sunshine State. Trump won almost every county in Florida, save for Miami-Dade County. Rubio announced Tuesday he was suspending his campaign.

“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on winning Florida’s winner-take-all presidential primary,” said Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Florida GOP in a prepared statement. “While the Florida GOP will remain neutral in the Republican nominating process, we will continue our grassroots efforts to defeat Hillary Clinton and put a Republican in the White House come November.”

Trump has won 18 Republican primaries and leads in the delegate count. The winner-take-all nature of Florida’s election may help Trump secure the Republican nomination.

“I think we’re going to have a great victory,” Trump said during a celebratory speech on Tuesday. “We’re going to win, win, win, and we’re not stopping.”

Trump said his campaign has “had such incredible support,” pointing toward endorsements from Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as an example of that support.

“We have to bring our party together. We have something happening that actually makes the Republican party the biggest political story in the world,” he said. “Millions of people are coming in to vote. We have a great opportunity. Democrats are coming in, independents are coming in and, very importantly, people are coming in who never voted before.”

“I’m very proud to be a part of this,” he said.

After Ohio victory John Kasich tips hat to Marco Rubio, vows to fight until convention

After his first primary victory in his home state of Ohio, Gov. John Kasich continued to spread his can-do message of optimism and civility at a speech to supporters Tuesday night.

After a brief hiccup to handle a Donald Trump-supporting crowd member, Kasich called for applause for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He called Rubio a “gifted, talented senator” and congratulated him on his campaign.

He told a parable comparing his own underdog campaign with the Buckeye State. He recalled meeting with bond rating agencies in New York City when, as he put it, “things were bad.” The agencies had threatened to slash Ohio’s rating because of high unemployment and debt levels that left bankers looking askance at its state government.

“You don’t understand Ohio, and you don’t understand Ohioans,” Kasich said he told them. He then recited a much-told list of economic improvements that took place during his governorship.

Kasich cited attaining 400,000 new jobs, an economic surplus, relatively secure pension programs plus multiple rounds of tax cuts, all while “leaving no one behind.” He said he wishes he could make the New York bankers “eat their words” when it came to doubting Ohio.

The governor and former congressman nodded to his many naysayers, including “people in Ohio saying ‘Why don’t they ever call on him?” in the long string of debates leading up to the contest.

Kasich also vowed to continue to draw a contrast between himself and Trump’s bawdy antics.

“I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land,” Kasich said to applause.

The speech was conspicuously devoid of the rock-ribbed red meat served up by other GOP nomination-seekers, saying his primary goal is not to repeal Obamacare or defund Planned Parenthood, but rather to help Americans “find their purpose in life” and to “heal and change the world.”

Kasich also gave a shout-out to many Democrats for supporting him in the state’s open primaries rather than casting a vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Preliminary polls indicated about 15 percent of Ohio Democrats crossed the aisle Tuesday.

Kasich ended with a pledge to take his campaign “all the way to” nearby Cleveland, site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. He vowed to secure the nomination there, despite his mathematically unlikely path forward.

Marco Rubio suspends presidential campaign after bruising Florida defeat

Marco Rubio ended his campaign Tuesday after being trounced in his own state by New York businessman Donald Trump.

Rubio is expected to come in a distant second behind Republican front runner Trump. According to the Florida Division of Elections, Trump leads the pack with 45 percent of the vote. Rubio trails Trump with 27 percent, followed by Ted Cruz with 17 percent. John Kasich is in fourth with 7 percent.

“After tonight it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side. I take great comfort in the ancient words which teaches us that in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps,” said Rubio before announcing he was suspending his campaign. “And so yet, while this may not have been the year for a hopeful and optimistic message about our future, I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America.”

The vote results came as a blow to the Florida Republican’s campaign. He long said he would win his home state, and spent the past week barnstorming Florida to drum up support. Florida’s junior U.S. senator failed to gain traction, though, and several recent polls showed Trump handily beating Rubio.

Unofficial county-by-county election results show Trump beat Rubio in most of Florida’s 67 counties. In Miami-Dade, though, where Rubio lives, he received 108,300 votes compared with Trump’s 38,786 votes. In nearby Broward County, Trump received more than 39,600 votes compared with Rubio’s more than 22,900 votes.

Trump received nearly twice as many votes as Rubio in Republican stronghold Collier County. Unofficial election results from Collier County show Trump received more than 30,000 votes compared with the more than 15,500 Rubio received.

Rubio announced he was running for president in April 2015. The 44-year-old Republican faced criticism from some Floridians for his decision to run as a competitor to one-time GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush.

Bush, who bowed out of the presidential race after the South Carolina primary last month, received about 2 percent of the vote in Florida, according to unofficial election results.

In a 15-minute speech to supporters Tuesday evening, Rubio thanked supporters for their hard work and dedication over the past year.

“I’m so grateful for all the help that you guys have given us. I just want you to know that there is nothing more that you could have done,” Rubio said. “You worked as hard as anyone could have worked. I want you to know, we worked as hard as we ever could.”

The former Florida legislator said he “endeavored over the last 11 months to bridge this divide within our party and within our country.” He also said he tried to build a campaign “that would love all of the American people, even the ones that don’t love you back.”

“I know firsthand ours is a special nation because where you come from here doesn’t decide where you go.”

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton take Duval County, NE Florida

Tuesday night saw Duval County and NE Florida fall in line with the majority of voters across the country, and support Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton… with the exception of one county on the Democratic side that Felt The Bern.

In the GOP Primary, Trump had 47 percent with 194 of 199 precincts in, well ahead of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz at 27 and 18 percent respectively. Rubio won just four precincts with significant GOP concentration, three on the westside south of I-10. Cruz won some precincts with just a handful of Republicans. Turnout was robust throughout the GOP precincts, with just a handful below 40 percent. 54 percent turnout was the total on the GOP side.

On the Democratic side in Duval, Clinton bested Bernie Sanders 67 to 31 percent. Clinton won all but eight precincts. Sanders won three in the liberal Council District 14, and two at the Jacksonville Beaches. Turnout ranged from a low of 22 percent in District 2’s Precinct 204, to above 60 percent in some districts. The total Democratic turnout was much lower than the GOP side, at just 38 percent.

The outlying counties held to Duval’s trend. Though there is variance in the county by county numbers, the outcomes are essentially the same in NE Florida, with Clinton and Trump well ahead of the pack. The Clinton margins in the surrounding counters were 16 percent in St. Johns and Nassau, and 19 percent in Clay, a narrowing of the gap which speaks to a lighter concentration of African Americans in the suburban counties.

Trump got between 47 and 51 percent in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. Johns. Rubio was in the 26 to 27 percent range in Duval and St. Johns, and a few points lower in the more rural and traditionally conservative Nassau and Clay. Cruz ran behind him in all counties.

A major outlier to these trends: Baker County, to the west of Jacksonville.

Trump scored his biggest vote percentage there: 53 percent. Yet behind him in second was Cruz, at 24 percent, then Rubio at 19 percent.

The Baker Democratic race was a similar outlier. Sanders beat Clinton, 45 to 36 percent, with Martin O’Malley at 13 percent.

Matthew Isbell observed, regarding Baker’s results: “98 people (9% of dem side) showed up and left it blank! Conservative dixie region.”

Florida, Ohio primary watch: Marco Rubio seeks survival, Hillary Clinton momentum

Five more states chime into the rambunctious campaign 2016 conversation on Tuesday, and no one’s listening with greater interest than Marco Rubio and John Kasich, both of them desperate to win their home states and avoid being flattened by Donald Trump‘s steamroller. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is out to reclaim momentum after Bernie Sanders rocked her with a Rust Belt upset in Michigan.

A look at what to watch for in Tuesday’s voting:

THE TIMELINE

The evening’s first results will be available when polls close at 7:30 p.m. EDT in North Carolina and Ohio. North Carolina has lots of early absentee voters, so close to half the ballots could be counted and reported in the first half-hour. Ohio also is a big absentee-vote state, so expect a fast, early count there as well. At 8 p.m., final polls close in Florida, Illinois and Missouri. Since most polls in Florida close at 7 p.m., there will be a lot of votes ready to report right at 8 p.m., allowing for possible early calls on both sides. Illinois and Missouri are slower counting states. First thing in the morning, the Northern Mariana Islands, where 471 people voted, chipped in all nine of its GOP delegates for Trump.

AND THEN THERE WERE …

Will it still be a four-man Republican race come midnight? Sen. Rubio has been staking his candidacy on a winner-take-all victory in his home state of Florida but hasn’t specified what a loss would mean. Ohio Gov. Kasich has acknowledged that a winner-take-all triumph in Ohio is essential for him, but in recent weeks he’s stopped short of explicitly saying he would drop out should he lose. If they can’t win at home, do these two candidates quickly exit stage left, sleep on it before bowing out — or dig up some shred of a rationale to slog on?

• • •

DUELING TRUMPS

Which Trump will turn up for his ritual “press conference” after the votes roll in? There’s the Trump who’s positioning himself for the general election and trying to act more presidential. And there’s the scrappier Trump, still trying to elbow his rivals out of the race. Scrappy Trump could also decide to train his focus on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton if she has a good night.

• • •

CLINTON’S AIM

Clinton held off on a full pivot toward the general election after Sanders snatched Michigan from her last week. Tuesday’s results should give her a lot more information — and delegates —to decide when it’s safe to look past Sanders and train her focus on November. Her speech Tuesday night will tell a lot about her thinking on that.

• • •

CRUZ’S AIM

Cruz, too, will have to decide where to focus his attention Tuesday night. Watch to see if he spends more time trying to nudge Rubio and Kasich out of the picture, or takes it to straight to Trump.

• • •

THE MIDPOINT

Check the GOP delegate count at the end of the night. A five-state sweep would allow Trump to cross an important threshold — stacking up more than 50 percent of the delegates awarded so far. After his win in the Northern Mariana Islands, Trump went into the night’s voting with 469 delegates to 370 for Cruz, 163 for Rubio and 63 for Kasich. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.

• • •

CLINTON’S CACHE

With Democrats continuing to dole out delegates on a proportional basis, see where Clinton’s delegate stash stands at the end of the night. She went into the night with 768 pledged delegates compared with 554 for Sanders, according to a count by The Associated Press. Including super delegates, Clinton holds 1,235 total delegates, more than half the amount needed to clinch the nomination, while Sanders has 580.

• • •

RACE, AGE

Dig into the exit polls to check on whether Bernie Sanders can continue to make Rust Belt inroads with black voters, a huge source of support for Clinton. In his surprise Michigan win last week, Sanders got nearly 3 in 10 black Democratic voters. In earlier states, mainly in the South, he was getting only about half that level of support. Also, check whether younger voters turn out in force for Sanders. In Michigan, 45 percent of Democratic voters were under 45, the most of any state so far, and two-thirds of them supported Sanders.

• • •

LATE DECIDERS

The exit polls also can give clues about whether late deciders on the Republican side are continuing to break against Trump — and whether there are enough of them to make a difference. So far, about a third of voters have been making up their minds in the past week, and they’ve been splintering among Trump alternatives. A spike in late-deciders moving against Trump could signal concern about the increasingly tense tone between Trump and his supporters, and the protesters at his rallies.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Marco Rubio, John Kasich fight to keep hopes alive

Republicans Marco Rubio and John Kasich are fighting for their political futures Tuesday, desperate for wins in their home states of Florida and Ohio to keep their White House hopes alive and complicate Donald Trump’s path to the nomination. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is hoping to keep rival Bernie Sanders from building new momentum in the Midwest.

With more delegates up for grabs than almost any other day in the primary calendar, Tuesday’s contests afford Trump and Clinton the chance to put their parties’ nominations out of sight for their competitors. While Florida and Ohio are the biggest prizes, Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina are also awarding of delegates.

Trump enters Tuesday’s primaries embroiled in one of the biggest controversies of his contentious campaign. The GOP front-runner has encouraged supporters to physically confront protesters at his events and is now facing accusations of encouraging violence after skirmishes broke out at a rally last week in Chicago.

During an event Monday in Tampa, Trump was interrupted intermittently by protesters, some of whom were forcibly removed. Trump said he didn’t want to “ruin somebody’s life, but do we prosecute somebody like that?”

The vibe at Trump’s events has deepened the concern over his candidacy in some Republican circles. Rubio and Kasich have suggested they might not be able to support Trump if he’s the nominee, an extraordinary stance for intraparty rivals. House Speaker Paul Ryan has also taken lightly veiled shots at the businessman, who has denied playing any role in encouraging violence against protesters.

“I think the candidates need to take responsibility for the environment at their events,” Ryan said during an interview Monday with WRJN, a radio station in Racine, Wisconsin. “There is never an excuse for condoning violence, or even a culture that presupposes it.”

Kasich, who has been restrained in his criticism, said Tuesday he would be “forced, going forward, to talk about some of the deep concerns” he has about Trump’s campaign.

Kasich appeared to have the best chance of defeating Trump anywhere on Tuesday. The governor spent Monday campaigning in his home state alongside Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee and a fierce critic of Trump.

Rubio, despite having the backing of numerous GOP elected officials, appears to have slipped in recent public polls in Florida. The senator tried to stay upbeat Monday, perhaps his final full day of campaigning in the 2016 race.

“Tomorrow’s the day where we are going to shock the country,” Rubio said during a stop in Jacksonville.

If Trump sweeps Tuesday’s contests, he’d still have to keep winning in order to clinch the nomination. But he would cross an important threshold by collecting more than 50 percent of the delegates awarded so far.

He won easily in the Northern Mariana caucus on Tuesday, picking up nine delegates. That gave him 469 to 370 for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 163 for Rubio and 63 for Kasich. It takes 1,237 to win the GOP nomination.

Trump’s closest competition has come from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has defeated the businessman in seven states. He’s also the only remaining GOP candidate who still says unequivocally that he would support Trump if he becomes the nominee.

Among Democrats, Clinton has been itching to look ahead to the general election but continues to face persistent competition from  Sanders. While Clinton maintains a commanding lead in the delegate count, Sanders breathed new life into his campaign with a surprising victory last week in Michigan.

Reprising a theme that helped propel that Michigan win, Sanders on Monday pounded Clinton’s past support for trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. He’s escalated his criticism in recent days, hoping to undercut her edge among minorities and expand his advantage with white working-class voters.

“When it came down whether you stand with corporate America, the people who wrote these agreements, or whether you stand with the working people of this country, I proudly stood with the workers,” Sanders said in Youngstown, Ohio. “Secretary Clinton stood with the big money interests.”

Clinton’s team is attempting to tamp down expectations for Tuesday night, though she’s also eyeing the general election and escalating her attacks on Trump, saying he’s “inciting mob violence.”

The campaign next shifts to the West, where Sanders’ advisers have suggested he could rattle off a win streak and begin cutting into Clinton’s delegate lead.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Forget favorite candidates, some people voting strategically

Kennedy Copeland is a Marco Rubio fan who voted for John Kasich in Ohio. Ann Croft is all in to elect Hillary Clinton president but cast her ballot for Rubio in Virginia. Julia Price will back the Democratic nominee in November but voted for Kasich in Tennessee.

Are these voters confused? No, they’re voting strategically in the year of Donald Trump in hopes of altering the outcome of the presidential race by voting for someone other than their favorite candidate in the primaries.

Democrat Croft, for example, figured Clinton didn’t need her help to win Virginia. So she decided to vote instead against Trump in the Republican primary because some of her GOP friends were worried he would win the state.

“I was feeling almost sort of dirty about doing it,” she recalled. But then Croft talked to a friend who had done exactly the same thing, which made her feel better.

In other cases, Democrats are crossing over to do just the opposite: voting for Trump, on the thinking he’d be the weakest candidate to face the eventual Democratic nominee.

The notion of strategic voting — in a way, playing amateur political scientist — is now front and center in Ohio and Florida, which award winner-take-all delegates in the Republican races as part of Tuesday’s five-state round of voting.

Rubio’s campaign raised eyebrows recently by urging Ohioans to cast ballots for Kasich as the best strategy to stop the Trump juggernaut.

Copeland, president of the College Republicans at Xavier University, says she did just that, casting an early vote for Ohio Gov. Kasich “because he has the best chance of winning Ohio against Trump” even though Rubio is her first choice.

Some voters are taking it upon themselves to get strategic without any coaching from a campaign.

In Minnesota, Eric Goodemote said he’d never voted for a Republican for anything before casting his caucus vote for Rubio to block Trump.

He said he found “the prospect of Donald Trump’s mere candidacy so horrifying that I decided to do the other party a favor and cross lines to vote for a guy who I would normally never even have considered.”

Strategic voting happens every election, of course, but political scientists say there’s far more intrigue than usual about what’s going on in this very atypical political year.

Columbia University’s Robert Shapiro says that while it’s not uncommon for a voter to select one candidate over their first choice in the same party based on electability, this year there’s more discussion about crossing party lines to influence what’s happening on the other side.

“We’re talking about something a lot more complicated and a lot more interesting,” says Shapiro, who defines strategic voting as “basically an insincere vote to pursue another purpose.”

More than insincere, it may be illegal in some states — although no one seems too concerned about that.

In Ohio’s semi-open primary system, for example, voters must sign a statement saying that they desire to be affiliated with a particular party and support the party’s principles before casting ballots in that primary.

Democrats who choose to vote in the Republican primary but don’t support the party’s policies “are committing election falsification by stating that they do in fact support those principles,” says law professor Dan Tokaji, an Ohio State University election law expert. “Will they be prosecuted? Almost certainly not.”

Vanderbilt University’s John Geer said that when voters cross over to nominate a weaker candidate in the opposing party it’s known as “raiding.” There’s always some of that, he says, and there may be more than usual this year with Trump in the mix. But, Geer added, “The vast majority of the Democrats that Trump is getting are voting for him because they like him, not because they want to weaken the Republican Party.”

Plenty of voters are upfront about their electoral schemes, and in many states there’s no legal prohibition to voting in either primary.

Sam Brunson, a liberal law professor in Chicago, says he figures Clinton doesn’t need his vote in Tuesday’s open Illinois primaries, so he’ll hold his nose and vote for a Republican — probably Ted Cruz — to try to deny Trump the nomination. He’s worried about the damage to the country that could be caused by a Trump nomination, saying that could send the wrong message to those who are racist and xenophobic.

Others are still waging battles between their heads and hearts in trying to select a candidate.

Republican Nancy Froelich, in Palm Beach, Florida, started out a conversation Monday by saying she was leaning toward voting for Cruz as the best candidate in Tuesday’s Florida lineup. She said she likes Kasich, but thinks voting for him could end up helping Trump. But then again, she said, “it might make more sense to vote for Rubio” to keep Trump from winning in Rubio’s home state.

“Call me back in an hour and ask me again,” she said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Live blogging the Florida Primary — Donald Trump wins primaries in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida

The latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times Eastern Standard Time):

Tuesday, March 15

9:53 p.m.Donald Trump is winning the Republican presidential primary in Illinois, where his rally was canceled last week in Chicago over security concerns.

His victory Tuesday comes after an earlier win in Florida and North Carolina. It increases his delegate lead over the rest of the Republican field.

9:50 p.m.Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in North Carolina.

His victory Tuesday comes after an earlier win in Florida and increases his delegate lead over the rest of the Republican field.

That field shrank by one on Tuesday as Marco Rubio dropped out. But John Kasich captured his first victory of the nominating contest by winning his home state of Ohio, nabbing all 66 delegates there.

Ted Cruz has yet to win a state Tuesday.

9:35 p.m.Ted Cruz says his “friend and colleague” Marco Rubio ran “an optimistic campaign focused on the future of our party.”

In a statement released shortly after the Florida senator suspended his presidential campaign, Cruz said he’s certain Rubio will continue to be “a champion for limitless opportunity in America.”

Cruz lost Tuesday’s major winner-take-all contests — in Florida to Donald Trump and Ohio to the state’s governor, John Kasich.

But his campaign was still hoping to pick up delegates in states that award delegates proportionally: Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina.

Cruz has said for weeks he’s the only candidate in the field who can beat Trump one-on-one.

8:45 p.m.Marco Rubio spoke over boos from the audience as he congratulated Florida primary winner Donald Trump. Rubio offered the crowd an emotional evaluation on the state of politics in the United States Tuesday as he ended his bid for the White House.

The Florida senator sought to calm his supporters, and took a heckler in stride, saying the person would “not get beat up” at his rally, a swipe at the recent disturbances at some of Trump’s rallies.

He said that he would offer “a prayer” for the eventual Republican nominee but did not suggest it would be Trump, who has a significant delegate lead over Ted Cruz and John Kasich. He has waffled of late as to whether he would support Trump if the celebrity businessman became the Republican standard-bearer.

Rubio also bemoaned the current political climate in which people “literally hate each other” because they differ politically.

4:25 p.m. —The polls might just be open for a few more hours, but Secretary of State Ken Detzner is making sure voters know Florida is a closed primary state.

On Tuesday afternoon, Detzner issued a statement following complaints in Palm Beach County that voters weren’t able to vote in the primary.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Butcher said dozens of people tried to vote in the primary but were unable to because of their party affiliation. Florida is one of 28 states that has closed presidential primaries or caucuses. That means only registered Republicans or Democrats can vote in their party’s primary.

“The Florida Department of State has spoken with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office and all eligible voters are able to vote. Anyone who is registered as no party affiliation is not able to vote for a Republican or Democratic nominee in the Presidential Preference Primary,” said Detzner in a statement.  “No party affiliation voters who showed up at the polls were provided with ballots for local municipal races.”

Polls close at 7 p.m.

1 p.m.Hillary Clinton says on primary day in five key states that “the numbers are adding up in my favor” but she is going to keep working as hard as she can.

Clinton is pointing to the general election, telling reporters in Raleigh, North Carolina, that she thinks it’s important that she focuses on “the really dangerous path that Donald Trump has laid out.” She says the “kind of bluster and bigotry and bullying” is disturbing to most Americans.

Clinton faces Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in primary contests in five states on Tuesday: North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. She says she will “keep working all day on Election Day and remind people how important it is to vote” and not let “anyone get complacent.”

11 a.m. — Republican Party Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said he expects “record turnout” in this year’s primary election.

Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican and state representative, told CNN’s Carol Costello, that he expected record turnout this election cycle. He also said he thinks the Republican race will be closer than what the polls have been projecting.

“I think Marco Rubio can do better than expected,” he said. “If anyone can pull off a statewide race as an underdog, Marco Rubio can do it.”

Recent polls show Rubio trailing Donald Trump in the Sunshine State. The Florida Republican has spent the past week barnstorming Florida to drum up support. He spent Monday campaigning in the I-95 corridor, and is scheduled to hold a rally in Miami on Tuesday night.

10:30 a.m — Rick Scott is encouraging Floridians to get out and vote.

“If you haven’t voted, go vote,” he said during a press conference in Fort Myers on Monday. “It’s going to be an exciting day. This will be the biggest state this fall and, right now, it clearly might impact the entire primary season.”

More than 2 million Floridians voted early. Polls across the state are open. Polls close at 7 p.m.

9 a.m. — The Marco Rubio campaign is asking voters to let them know if they run into any problems at the polls.

In an email to supporters on Thursday night, the campaign encouraged voters to inform poll workers of any problems, before calling or emailing the campaign to report issues.

“Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been marred by reports of dirty tricks by other campaigns, and so we need our eyes and ears on the ground,” the Rubio campaign said in an email.

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Monday, March 14

3:10 p.m. –Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance at a Donald Trump rally in Tampa, despite canceling a solo event after her husband was injured in a snowmobiling accident.

Palin told the crowd that her husband is currently recovering in the intensive care unit.

She said that accidents like that put things “in perspective.”

2:49 p.m.Mitt Romney did not endorse John Kasich ahead of Tuesday’s Ohio primary, but the 2012 GOP presidential nominee shared a stage with the governor Monday and said Kasich is the only Republican running who “has a real track record.”

Romney told voters at an air museum in North Canton, Ohio, to treat the election like a job interview and review each candidate’s record.

The former Massachusetts governor has not endorsed a candidate in the nomination fight, but he has urged Republicans not to choose front-runner Donald Trump.

Romney said Monday Kasich is the candidate who can balance budgets, eliminate Obamacare and bring jobs back to America.

2:23 p.m. – A prayer team supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on its members to fast before primaries in five states on Tuesday.

An email from Cruz’s prayer team asks for a day of “fasting and prayer” on Monday. Cruz has been courting evangelical voters throughout the campaign, and this is not the first time his backers have called for giving up food to help the cause. There were similar calls for fasting before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 and conservative talk show host Glenn Beck urged his listeners to join with him in fasting to help Cruz in Nevada last month.

Monday’s email says “Many of you have prayerfully interceded and fasted on your own for our nation and for Ted Cruz, the candidate we believe God will use to re-ignite the promise of America.” It then calls on supporters to do it again so that “each person would discern the difference between (God’s) wisdom and the distraction of false messages.”

Cruz ignored a question at the conclusion of a press conference Monday about whether he was fasting on Monday.

2:03 p.m. – In a not-so-veiled shot at Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan says candidates must accept responsibility for clashes that occur at their campaign events and should never condone or encourage violence.

The Wisconsin Republican did not mention the GOP’s leading presidential candidate by name in an interview Monday on WRJN in Racine, Wisconsin.

But three days after Trump supporters and opposing demonstrators fought at a Chicago event that the billionaire TV personality later canceled, Ryan said candidates should never accept violence or an atmosphere that permits it.

Ryan says the public is angry and frustrated, but he says politicians shouldn’t call people names or fuel anger for political gains. He says they instead should propose policies that resolve problems.

1:57 p.m.Cruz is blaming the media for paying too much attention to Trump.

Cruz told reporters Monday before a campaign stop outside of Chicago that coverage of the presidential race has been like a telethon for Trump. Cruz says he keeps “waiting for Jerry Lewis to come out and make and ask for money to help poor Donald Trump.”

Cruz says “the mainstream media loves talking about Donald Trump” because he says those in control of media outlets are partisan Democrats want Democrat Hillary Clinton to win and they think Trump is the only Republican who will lose to her.

Cruz says the media has lost focus on issues that matter to voters. He says the election “is not about the latest soap opera about Donald Trump terrorizing some poor, hapless reporter.”

1:36 p.m. – Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders is promoting a “yuuuge” turnout in Ohio’s Tuesday primary.

At a rally in Akron, Sanders said he is confident that high turnout among low-income, working-class and young voters can deliver him a win in Ohio.

“If you don’t tell anybody,” the Vermont senator said in a whispered tone, “let me mention to you, I think we’re going to win Ohio tomorrow.”

In introducing Sanders, former state Sen. Nina Turner invoked the storied Ohio State-Michigan football rivalry. She said Ohio voters can’t let themselves be outdone by Michigan, where Sanders scored an unexpected victory against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

1:31 p.m.Trump ended his campaign stop in North Carolina with a number of disruptions but without the type of violence that marked a canceled stop in Chicago and led to an assault in the state last week.

A crowd of nearly 1,000 attended the rally on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Three separate times, protesters interrupted Trump’s comments, and each time, his supporters rose to their feet, drowning out the protesters with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!” and “USA, USA!”

Trump, who appeared in a question-and-answers session with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blamed the disruptions on Democrats. The GOP front-runner told the audience Democrats are to blame, saying they see the success of his campaign and try to disrupt it, but he said, “It’s not a big deal.”

1:15 p.m.Hillary Clinton is calling on Democrats to unify around her presidential bid, arguing that the party must focus on a larger threat: GOP front-runner Trump.

The former secretary of state is telling supporters: “Do not rest … Do everything you can in the next 24-plus hours to come of these elections with the wind at our backs,” she said at rally in Chicago on Monday morning, just miles from where protests forced Trump to shut down a campaign event.

She adds that her campaign knows “the way forward to be able to start talking about not only unifying the Democratic party but unifying our country.”

Her new pitch comes as Trump blames Sanders supporters for protests that prompted him to cancel a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago – just a few miles away from the union hall where Clinton wooed supporters.

Facing tightening contests in a trio Midwestern states that vote on Tuesday, Clinton is trying to boost support among minority voters.

Photo courtesy Washington Post
Photo courtesy Washington Post

12:30 p.m. – Breitbart versus Donald Trump: Resignations of Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro demonstrate a widening rift between the Republican Party front-runner and the conservative news media that had, until now, been one of his biggest cheerleaders.

James Hohmann of The Washington Post reports on the departures of Fields and Shapiro, which came in protest over how Breitbart handled an alleged assault on Fields last week by Trump’s campaign manager. On Friday, Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella also resigned over a story by a senior editor casting doubt on Fields’s version of incident, which Hohmann notes was also witnessed by a Washington Post reporter.

More resignations are imminent, Hohmann says.

The situation over at Breitbart is just the latest indication of the growing sense of alarm in conservative circles, led by such traditional media outlets like the Weekly Standard and National Review, over how Trump’s increasingly likely nomination would mean for the country. In the past, such criticism would spell doom for a campaign, but in 2016, grassroots activists see it as more complaints from the exact Republican Party establishment they are trying to overturn.

“Breitbart has unfortunately become Trump’s Pravda,” Shapiro said in announcing his resignation. “No media outlet worth its salt would throw over their own reporter and bad mouth her on their front page in order to protect the candidate.”

10:30 a.m. – What Bobby Kennedy would say to Trump: Trump does not have the dark heart of a racist or a hater, says Mike Barnicle in the Daily Beast.

What Trump is, Barnicle writes, is a man of “huge ego and narcissism whose ambition, chip on his shoulder, his background and the fact he feels he has never been truly respected now prevent him from seeing what is actually right in front of him: ordinary Americans left behind by an economy and a culture that has damaged the lives, dreams and hopes of so many who listen to him and are quickly emboldened to behave like an army of antagonists to the unseen enemies who stole a country that exists only in myth.”

Yet for insight, Barnicle goes to the words of Bobby Kennedy, who – exactly 48 years ago – found himself running a campaign in an America rocked by war, assassinations, violence and a “future seemingly wrapped in trauma.” The ill-fated candidate was speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, Ohio, on May 5, 1968:

“Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force, too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others…

“We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others…

“But we can perhaps remember—even if only for a time—that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life that they seek—as we do—nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something…and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”

10 a.m. – What Florida’s reading this morning: Despite having a “rare opportunity” to vote for one of their own for the White House, some Cuban-Americans are making a different choice – Donald Trump. Lesley Clark and Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald are reporting that with several Trump backers “ethnicity plays no factor.”

“I don’t think Cuban, I think American,” said Julio Martinez, the former Hialeah Mayor who been holding a Trump campaign sign outside an early voting site just blocks from where Marco Rubio called for the support of Hispanics in Tuesday’s Florida primary.

Trump’s rise is fostering a sense of panic among establishment Republicans, who have been struggling for more minority outreach – particularly with Hispanic voters – after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss. Hispanics make up a sizable part of the electorate in several key swing states, such as Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.

Currently, Trump is drawing only 19 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote, according to a March Washington Post-Univision News poll. Compare that to Romney, who won about 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. George W. Bush, the last Republican president, got an estimated 40 percent in 2004.

Also, Trump has the highest negatives of any of the candidates – 6 in 10 holding a somewhat or very unfavorable impression – more than twice that of Cruz or Rubio negative rating.

Sunday, March 13

8:40 p.m. — GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says he must win his home state of Florida in Tuesday’s primary to keep the conservative movement from getting “hijacked” by front-runner Donald Trump.

Rubio spoke briefly Sunday night at his Orlando campaign office. It was crowded with staffers, volunteers and supporters.

Using a bullhorn, Rubio said, “We must send a message to the country that we are not going to allow the conservative movement and the Republican Party to get hijacked by someone who is neither a Republican nor a conservative.”

He invoked the memory of the late President Ronald Reagan, saying he acknowledged the country’s fears and frustration in 1980 but “didn’t exploit them.”

Rubio is trailing Trump in Florida polling.

6:30 p.m. — Former President Bill Clinton rallying Florida Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

The former president is scheduled to hold three get-out-the vote events Monday. Clinton is scheduled to encourage Floridians to vote for Hillary Clinton by explaining why she is the best candidate to break down social and economic barriers for Florida families.

The former president will start the day with a get out the vote event at 12:30 p.m. at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the FAMU event.

From Tallahassee, he’ll head to a get out the vote event at Zion Hope Baptist Church in Jacksonville. The event starts at 4:30 p.m., and doors open at 3:30 p.m.

The former president will end the day in Winter Park, according to the campaign. He’ll attend a rally at 7:45 p.m. at Rollins College. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

According to recent polling averages compiled by RealClearPolitics, Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders in the Sunshine State.

6 p.m. — Minutes after Rubio began speaking at a Central Florida rally, a man rose to accuse Rubio of stealing his girlfriend.

The man repeatedly claimed that Rubio “stole” his girlfriend in New Hampshire, and the crowd seemed stunned.

Rubio laughed off the bizarre claim, noting that he didn’t fare well in the New Hampshire primary.

Police escorted the man out of the rally without incident. He was not identified.

Associated Press photo
Associated Press photo

2:11 p.m.John Kasich is laughing off an Ohio voter’s suggestion that he should pre-emptively offer Rubio the vice presidency after Tuesday’s primaries in Ohio and Florida.

A voter at a town hall in Strongsville, Ohio, says if Rubio loses his home state on Tuesday, Kasich should team up with him to form a ticket.

In response, Kasich asked the man, “where do you come up with this stuff?” He says he’ll win Ohio on Tuesday, but that choosing a vice president now would be like “measuring the drapes.”

“I just think he would be a good vice president,” the man said back.

Wins for Kasich and Rubio in their home states would make it harder for Trump to earn enough delegates to become the GOP nominee outright.

Friday, March 11

11:10 p.m. – Police say they used pepper spray twice outside a Trump rally in Kansas City, Missouri, and two people were arrested for refusing to follow the law. In a Twitter post late Saturday, Kansas City police did not say if the use of pepper spray was on demonstrators or Trump supporters. Television images showed one protester rubbing his eyes and saying that he had been sprayed.

While a boisterous group of protesters gathered outside the theater where Trump spoke in downtown Kansas City, the event concluded without significant incident. Police say the majority of people exercised their rights to gather peacefully.

Trump’s remarks were interrupted about a dozen times by protesters who managed to get into the theater, and they were escorted out.

9:34 p.m.Hillary Clinton is apologizing again for crediting Nancy Reagan for confronting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

Clinton initially apologized Friday after saying in an interview with MSNBC during its coverage of Nancy Reagan’s funeral that the former first lady helped start a “national conversation” about AIDS.

Writing on the Medium website, Clinton said Saturday that the Reagans did not do so. She instead credited the work of gay, lesbian and bisexual activists and their straight allies.

“I’ve heard from countless people who were devastated by the loss of friends and loved ones, and hurt and disappointed by what I said,” she wrote.

Clinton added there’s still “work to do to eradicate this disease for good and erase the stigma.”

9:10 p.m. – The most recent Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, says he doesn’t think GOP front-runner Trump will ever release his tax returns and believes that the billionaire businessman is hiding something significant.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Romney also cites the main reasons he decided to give a blistering anti-Trump speech earlier this month. One was Trump’s call for not allowing Muslims into the U.S. But it was the interview on CNN in which Trump wouldn’t disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan that Romney says spurred him to action.

Romney tells the Boston Globe that Trump’s recent remarks that Islam hates America are highly offensive and bigoted. He also says Trump represents a threat to both the GOP and the country.

Romney admits he has been wrong before about the 2016 presidential campaign. He says he didn’t think Trump would join the race and would quickly disappear if he did. He thought Trump’s disparaging comments about Sen. John McCain would cost him supporters. And Romney says he thought Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee.

9 p.m. – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says that with the world watching the U.S. presidential election, political leaders in both parties have a responsibility to ensure that the “discourse we engage in promotes the best of America.”

His statement comes amid rising tensions and some violent skirmishes at rallies for Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Priebus never mentions Trump by name and focuses his comments on leaders in both parties.

The RNC chair says he hopes voters can exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner “that is respectful of our fellow Americans.” And he says violence “is never the answer.”

8:45 p.m.Trump is asking law enforcement officers to arrest protesters at his rally in Kansas City, Missouri. He argues that fear of an “arrest mark” on people’s records may put an end to the near-constant disruptions at his rallies.

He says he’s “going to start pressing charges against all these people. “This, a day after he called off a planned Chicago event because it attracted so many protesters.

Trump says arrests would mar their records.

That’s “going to ruin the rest of their lives,” he says. And then, he tells supporters, “we’re not going to have any more protesters, folks.”

8:30 p.m. – Republicans in Guam have held a presidential convention but only one delegate has been awarded — to Ted Cruz.

Guam has nine delegates to the Republican National Convention. Former party chairman Mike Benito says in an email that eight delegates are uncommitted. He says they will meet decide Tuesday. whether to back a candidate.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo is the only delegate who has endorsed a candidate. Benito says that Calvo serves as Cruz’s local campaign chairman.

Donald Trump leads the overall race for delegates, with 460. Cruz has 370, Marco Rubio has 153 and John Kasich has 54.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

8:20 p.m. – Trump is blaming Bernie Sanders‘ supporters for trouble at his rallies.

And that’s prompting him to go after the Vermont senator.

In his Kansas City, Missouri, rally, Trump referred to “Bernie our communist friend” and called him a “lousy” senator.

Indeed, some signs for Sanders have shown up at the protests but there’s no indication of an organized effort from his Democratic campaign to undermine him and no evidence that Sanders people are dominating the demonstrations. Trump says he’s seen some Hillary Clinton signs, too.

8 p.m. – As protesters made their mark at his latest rally, Donald Trump seemed to relish the interruptions.

In Kansas City, Missouri, he repeatedly ridiculed them — as people with a “little weak voice” and saying “go home to mommy.” Even while stirring up his boisterous supporters, he asked security to be “very gentle” when taking the protesters out.

By about 20 minutes into his remarks, more than a dozen demonstrators were escorted out, offering little resistance. Most of them are white.

Trump was eager to engage them. As he put it: “There is nothing so interesting as a Trump rally.”

7:55 p.m.Trump is once again facing repeated disruptions from protesters as he campaigns in Kansas City, Missouri.

He was just a few minutes into his speech Saturday night at a theater in the city’s downtown entertainment district when the protests began.

The protesters appear to be scattered in all parts of the theater, and even Trump is marveling at how many are in the crowd.

He’s bemoaning that they’re taking seats away from his supporters, thousands of which he says are outside and can’t get in.

But Trump also says he’s ready to wait them out. He says, “I’ve got plenty of time. … We’re in no rush. We’re in no rush.”

7 p.m. – Among the Trump supporters at Saturday night’s rally in Kansas City, Missouri, is Neal Jones. He’s a 56-year-old accountant and die-hard Republican.

Jones says he’d vote for Donald Duck if that were the Republican nominee.

But Jones has no problem with protesters coming to Trump events. As he put it, “Freedom of speech, baby.”

One of those protesters is purple-haired, 22-year-old Liz Blumenthal of Kansas City. She carried a placard outside reading “A Vote For Trump Is A Vote For Hate.”

She says she wants to spread the word that “you’re able to love everything, no matter your race, what political side you’re on, your religion.” And she says Trump “doesn’t stand with that.”

And she says this message can be conveyed peacefully, without the violence seen in Chicago on Friday night.

Several hundred protesters occupied one Kansas City sidewalk as Trump supporters lined up on the other, separated by police and barricades as they waited to get in.

A full plastic soda bottle flew from the protesters into the lineup of Trump supporters.

5:50 p.m. – A Kansas City, Missouri, rally for Trump has drawn a crowd of people hoping to attend the rally and scores who are there to protest the Republican presidential front-runner.

The line of people hoping to attend the rally at the downtown theater snaked around the block Saturday afternoon. Police officers and barricades in the street separated the rally participants from about 200 protesters on the other side.

Many protesters were chanting “Dump Trump” and “Black Lives Matter.” Some Trump supporters responded with obscene gestures.

Trump’s rallies in recent weeks have been marked by frequent clashes between his supporters and demonstrators.

Protesters who prompted Trump to call off his Chicago rally Friday night after fights broke out with his supporters are hoping the Kansas City event will be shut down before he takes the stage, too.

4:35 p.m. — Clinton has picked up more superdelegates after winning the Northern Mariana Islands caucus.

The chairman of the Democratic Party there, Rosiky Camacho, says all five of the U.S. territory’s superdelegates are now supporting Clinton over Sanders. Up to now, only one of them had endorsed Clinton while the others were uncommitted.

Superdelegates are party officials who can back any candidate they wish.

Camacho told The Associated Press that he and the others made their decision after Clinton won their caucus with 54 percent of the vote.

Earlier Saturday, Clinton had picked up four delegates to Sanders’ two based on the caucus results.

When including superdelegates, Clinton maintains a big delegate lead over Sanders, 1,231 to 576. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

The Northern Mariana Islands are in the Pacific Ocean near Guam.

4:20 p.m.John Kasich has delivered his harshest criticism yet of Trump. The Ohio governor says in Heath, Ohio, he’s “had it” with the “toxic” nature of Trump’s campaign.

Violence between Trump protesters and supporters led to the cancellation of a Chicago rally on Friday night. That’s given Kasich a fresh opportunity to distinguish the tone of his campaign from Trump’s in the final days before Ohio’s critical primary on Tuesday.

For months, the Ohio governor has declined to hit Trump, saying mudslinging has no place in a presidential contest.

Kasich says he was “deeply disturbed” by reports of the violent clashes outside of Trump’s event. Despite saying in the latest debate that he would back the GOP nominee, Kasich now says the environment Trump has created “makes it very, extremely difficult” to support him.

4:10 p.m. — Florida officials say they have received no complaints about problems with early voting despite an assertion by Trump that there were attempts to “rig the vote.”

Meredith Beatrice, a spokeswoman for Florida’s secretary of state, says on Saturday state officials have received no formal complaints about election fraud during this year’s presidential primary. The primary is Tuesday but early voting has been going on for at least a week in some counties.

Republican front-runner Trump said on Twitter that his campaign was “asking for law enforcement to check for dishonest early voting in Florida.” He also stated that he had heard that some Republicans may be trying to “rig the vote” for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The campaign has provided no examples.

Florida has earned a reputation for troubled elections in the past.

3:42 p.m. — Authorities in Ohio have identified the man arrested and charged with rushing the stage at a Trump campaign rally.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer says Thomas Dimassimo of Fairborn, Ohio, has been charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct.

The Republican candidate for president was inside an airport hangar near Dayton on Saturday when a man leapt over a barricade, jumping into the security buffer surrounding the stage from which Trump was speaking.

The man was stopped by several U.S. Secret Service agents and other officers, but not before making his way to the stage itself.

Several Secret Service agents surrounded Trump on stage briefly while the man was detained and removed from the area.

Trump then continued his speech and was able to finish without further incident.

2:54 p.m. — A handful of protesters interrupted Trump‘s rally in Cleveland, but the event otherwise appeared calm.

Trump was interrupted shortly after taking the stage on Saturday. He used the moment to criticize the protesters who flooded into his event in Chicago on Friday night, leading him to postpone it indefinitely.

He says: “We were not allowed to exercise our First Amendment rights.”

Several of the protesters at the Chicago event said they were supporters of Sanders, a point Trump gleefully noted during several interruptions in Cleveland.

Trump says: “They’re Bernie fans! Hey Bernie, get your people in line, Bernie!”

At a rally earlier Saturday outside Dayton, Trump was briefly surrounded by Secret Service agents when a man tried to breach the security buffer. He was stopped and Trump continued with his speech.

2:30 p.m.Sanders is going after Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, linking the provocative Democratic mayor to rival Clinton.

Emanuel is disliked by some African-Americans and progressives, and Sanders is trying to cast him as a close Clinton ally. Emanuel is a former congressman who previously had worked at an investment bank. He endorsed Clinton in May and served as a senior adviser during her husband’s administration.

As mayor, he’s come under intense criticism for efforts to revamp the city’s schools and for his alleged cover up of a video showing city police shooting 17-year-old, African-American Laquan McDonald last year.

Sanders says at a news conference in Chicago: “Based on his disastrous record as mayor of the City of Chicago, I do not want Mayor Emanuel’s endorsement if I win the nomination. We do not want the support of people who are indebted to Wall Street and big money interests.”

His campaign is also running ads critical of Emanuel.

2:10 p.m. — Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says Trump is “dividing both the party and the country so bitterly” that the Florida senator may not be able to support the businessman if he becomes the GOP nominee.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rubio says Trump is engaged in an “ongoing pattern” of encouraging supporters to respond to protesters aggressively.

When asked whether he would look for a third-party candidate to support if Trump does become the nominee, Rubio says that’s not his preference. But he says the fact that he was even asked the question shows why Trump is a problem for Republicans.

The Florida senator blames Trump’s continued behavior in part on rival Ted Cruz. Cruz allied himself with the billionaire for months. Rubio also faults television coverage that gives the real estate mogul a frequent platform.

12:42 p.m. — A spokeswoman for Trump says a man tried to breach the security buffer at his event in Ohio, leading U.S. Secret Service agents to briefly rush the stage to surround the Republican presidential candidate.

Spokeswoman Hope Hicks says the man “was removed rapidly and professionally.”

Trump was speaking Saturday at a campaign rally in Dayton when he was briefly surrounded by Secret Service agents, who formed a protective barrier around him.

The agents left the stage quickly, and Trump was able to finish his speech and did so without apparent incident.

12:10 p.m. — A group of U.S. Secret Service agents briefly formed a protective ring around Trump at his rally in Ohio, but then quickly left the stage and allowed him to continue his speech.

It was not immediately clear why the agents rushed onto the stage Saturday morning to surround Trump, who appeared to jolt after hearing something in the audience standing behind his right shoulder.

Four Secret Service agents then rushed onto the stage, as the audience chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” The agents quickly cleared.

Trump did not explain what had happened, but said: “Thank you for the warning. I was ready for ’em, but it’s much better if the cops do it, don’t we agree?”

Both the Secret Service and Trump campaign staff did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment.

Trump was able to finish his speech and did so without apparent incident.

The billionaire businessman called off a rally on Friday night in Chicago, after protesters filled the arena where he was scheduled to speak.

12:05 p.m. — It’s another election Saturday in the presidential race.

There’s a Republican contest in heavily Democratic Washington, D.C. There’s a single place to vote — a downtown hotel — and 19 delegates are at stake.

In Wyoming, Republicans are holding caucuses to select the state’s first 12 presidential delegates. Ted Cruz is the only active Republican candidate to have campaigned in the state, which will bring a total of 29 delegates to the national convention this summer.

Republicans will choose 14 more delegates at their state convention in mid-April. The other three are the state GOP chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman.

Clinton won the Democratic caucus on the Northern Mariana Islands. The U.S. territory located in the Pacific Ocean near Guam held its vote Saturday. Clinton received 54 percent of 189 votes cast to earn four of the six delegates at stake. Sanders picked up two delegates.

And results are expected later on the GOP side from Guam.

noon Clinton is charging Republican front-runner Trump with encouraging “violence and aggression,” saying his heated political rhetoric is “wrong and it’s dangerous.”

Clinton called heated protests last night at his rally in Chicago “deeply disturbing.” She says voters must stand up to “this tide of bullying and bigotry and blustering that is going on in our political strategy.”

She is telling campaign volunteers in St. Louis on Saturday morning: “If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control.”

Clinton is in the midst of a weekend campaign swing through Missouri and Ohio, ahead of primaries in those states on Tuesday.

11:50 a.m. — Chicago police say two officers were injured when supporters of Trump clashed with protesters Friday after he abruptly canceled a campaign rally.

Police say the two officers were taken to a hospital for treatment and released. No other details about their injuries were available. Police say no other injuries were reported at the event Friday night.

Police say five people were arrested at the event, but the charges have not yet been released. CBS News says one of its reporters has been charged with resisting arrest.

Reporter Sopan Deb was on the floor of the arena on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and interviewed Trump supporters and protesters. He also was taking video of the scene outside of the arena.

11:40 a.m.Sanders says Trump‘s heated language is inciting violent outbursts at his rallies, and it’s up to the billionaire businessman to stop it.

The Democratic senator from Vermont was speaking at a news conference Saturday in Chicago. The day before, scuffles between protesters and supporters forced Trump to call off a rally in the city.

Some of the Trump protesters were chanting Sanders’ name as they celebrated the event’s cancellation.

But the Democratic presidential candidate says his supporters are not instigating trouble. He says, they’re “responding to a candidate who has, in fact, in many ways encouraged violence.”

Sanders says what the “Trump campaign has been about is insulting Mexicans in a very crude way” and “insulting African-Americans.”

11:24 a.m. — As he campaigns in Kasich‘s home state, Republican presidential candidate Trump is taking on the Ohio governor.

“It’s a boring subject, but we’ll talk about him anyway,” Trump says Saturday as he launched into an attack on Kasich’s resume and votes on trade during a rally at an airport hangar outside Dayton.

Trump points out that Kasich once worked for Lehman Brothers, an investment bank whose collapse in 2008 Trump calls one of the “great catastrophes of the word.”

He also notes Kasich’s support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and his stance on immigration. “He’s not the right guy to be president,” Trump says.

Trump has ramped up his attacks against Kasich in recent days ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary in the state. The billionaire businessman will campaign later Saturday in Cleveland and Kansas City, Missouri.

11 a.m.Trump has kicked off a rally at an airplane hangar outside Dayton, Ohio, one day after protesters forced him to cancel an event in Chicago.

The billionaire businessman addressed the incident at the start of his rally, calling what took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago “a disgrace, if you want to know the truth.”

Trump says his supporters are “nice” and “great” people, but protesters he called “professionally-staged wiseguys” were determined to cause problems. He says he was worried his backers would have gotten hurt.

Trump says, “We would’ve had a problem like you wouldn’t have believed.”

He adds, “We made a decision. And I hated to do this, because frankly it wouldn’t have been easier to do. But I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt. You would have had a problem like they haven’t seen in a long time. Because we have people that are so amazing.”

10:45 a.m.Kasich seems to be running out of patience when it comes to Trump.

The Ohio governor blames Trump for creating what Kasich calls ‘ “toxic environment” in the presidential race.

Kasich is suggesting he may not support Trump should the businessman become the GOP nominee.

He says during a stop in Cincinnati that there’s “no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of people.”

Kasich’s comments come during a news conference to address the violence that led Trump to cancel a rally in Chicago on Friday night.

10:20 a.m.Clinton has won the Democratic caucus on the Northern Mariana Islands.

The U.S. territory located in the Pacific Ocean near Guam held its vote Saturday.

Clinton received 54 percent of 189 votes cast to earn four of the six delegates at stake.

Sanders picked up two delegates.

Heading into a batch of delegate-rich states on Tuesday, Clinton now has 766 delegates to Sanders’ 551, based on primaries and caucuses alone.

When including superdelegates — party leaders who can support any candidate — Clinton’s lead is even bigger: 1,227 to Sanders’ 576.

The Northern Mariana Islands is one of five U.S. territories that help choose the Democratic nominee, even though they don’t get a vote in the November general election. It has a population of 52,000.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Donald Trump’s support softens – just not enough for his rivals

In several states, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has been losing support as primary contests near. But in most cases, it’s not happening fast enough for his rivals to catch up.

Exit poll data shows Trump tends to do worse with voters who wait to pick their candidate until the final days of campaigning in their states. In some places, these late deciders have been more than twice as likely to back Trump’s main rivals — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and to a lesser degree John Kasich — than the billionaire businessman.

So how does Trump keep winning?

The front-runner is buoyed by supporters who commit to a candidate early and in some cases, participate in early voting. Trump has often built up such a lead in early voting, or such high levels of support among early deciders, that his weaker showing among late deciders simply doesn’t matter.

Anti-Trump forces have tried aggressively in recent weeks to peel even more voters away from Trump ahead of Tuesday’s crucial contests. Millions of dollars in advertisements blasting Trump’s business record and brash demeanor have been blanketing airwaves in Florida, as well as in Ohio and Illinois.

But unless Trump’s support softens more substantially than in recent contests, Tuesday’s primaries could give him a lead in the delegate race that will be difficult for his rivals to overcome.

EARLY VOTING

In Florida, the biggest prize up for grabs Tuesday, more than 1 million people voted early in the GOP primary. That’s about one-fourth of the projected electorate that can’t be persuaded in the final days of campaigning.

Giving Trump’s showing in other states with early voting, the numbers in Florida could bode well for the billionaire.

In Georgia, where Trump won handily, 44 percent of early voters sided with the real estate mogul. In Arkansas, Trump won about 34 percent of early voters, more than any other candidate, and also went on to win the state.

Early voting was designed to make it easier for more people to vote. It’s become particularly popular in Florida, where 10 days of early voting were held in the lead-up to Tuesday’s contest.

Jean Vasiliades of New Port Richey, Fla., is among those whose support has been cemented at the ballot box. While she attended a Rubio rally near her hometown Saturday, there was nothing he could say to win her vote — because she’d already cast it for Trump.

“I like Rubio very much and will vote for him if he runs again for Senate,” she said.

THE ART OF (CLOSING) THE DEAL

Trump’s strength with early voters is matched by his broad support among people who make their decision early, but vote on their state’s primary or caucus day.

Across 15 states where exit polls were conducted, Trump was the choice of about 43 percent of voters who picked their candidate more than a week before their state’s contests — far more than any of his rivals. The early deciders also comprised about two-thirds of the electorate in those states.

But there are indications that Trump struggled in some states to close the deal with voters who held off on making a decision.

In those same 15 states, just 23 percent of people who made up their minds in the last seven days of campaigning sided with the billionaire. That’s according to Edison Research, which conducts exit polls for The Associated Press and television networks.

Iowa, which leads off the nominating process, was a particularly egregious example for Trump. In a crowded field with more than 10 candidates, Trump had the support of about one-third of voters who made their minds’ early. Among those who decided on a candidate within a week of the caucuses, Trump’s support slipped to 14 percent, far behind Rubio and Cruz, the Texas senator who went on to win the state.

WHO WINS WITH LATE DECIDERS?

Here’s the problem for Trump’s rivals: No single candidate has emerged as the clear beneficiary of the billionaire’s inability to close the deal with late-deciding voters.

It’s another consequence of a crowded primary field that’s left voters with plenty of anti-Trump options.

In South Carolina, one of Trump’s rivals may have been able to top the real estate mogul if they could have carried the majority of late deciders. Instead, 28 percent went to Rubio, 26 percent went to Cruz and 12 percent to Kasich. The breakdown was similar in Arkansas, with Rubio winning 35 percent of late deciders and Cruz carrying 31 percent in their losses to Trump.

Kasich, who desperately needs to stop Trump in his home state of Ohio, has been a nonentity in most of the primaries up until this point. But in Michigan, a state his campaign views as similar to Ohio, Kasich had a late surge, winning 43 percent of those who decided on a candidate within a week of the primary, compared to a paltry 13 percent of voters who made up their minds earlier.

While Kasich celebrated his third place finish, Trump walked away with the win.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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