The early returns from Arizona suggest that, as expected, this will be a good night there for Donald Trump. He’s way ahead of Ted Cruz in Maricopa County, where must of the vote will come from.
Arizona is a pure winner-take-all primary, so Trump gets all 58 delegates if he secures just one more vote than his closest rival (surely Ted Cruz). Trump looks certain to get many more votes than Cruz.
In Utah, the caucusing process is underway. They will be at it for a while, so we probably won’t get results for a couple of hours.
UPDATE: Arizona has already been called for Trump. Interestingly, Marco Rubio is running third, not far behind Cruz, in the early count. Clearly, this reflects early voting, which enables Trump to continue to benefit from a five-candidate field (Ben Carson also received more than a few votes) even though the field is now down to three.
But Arizona is very good state for Trump, presumably because of all the illegal immigration. There’s an excellent chance he would have won a two-candidate race against Cruz in Arizona, indeed it seems certain he would have. Right now, his share of the vote exceeds 45 percent.
But the same effect may boost Trump in states that are more competitive.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has crushed Bernie Sanders in Arizona.
WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN? There are reports from Utah of caucus sites running out of ballots. There are reports of voters having to wait three hours to vote in Arizona.
It’s been clear for more than a month that turnout for primaries and caucuses will be massive this year. The folks that run elections should be better prepared.
ALL EYES ARE ON UTAH NOW: Trump’s big victory in Arizona, though expected, raises the stakes for Cruz in Utah. He’s expected to win there, but a win with 50-plus percent would give his campaign a boost (and it probably needs one).
First, it would net Cruz all 40 delegates. Second, it would mean he’s done something Trump hasn’t accomplished (unless he accomplishes it in Arizona) — win a majority of the vote in a state.
Having just touted the Utah caucuses, I guess I’ll have to stay up and wait for some returns to discuss. However, we may not know until Wednesday morning whether Cruz gets past the 50 percent barrier.
JUST FOUND an old Western with Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum to watch while I wait for Utah returns. It was either that or a tape of the Derby County vs. Nottingham Forest soccer match in England’s second tier (the Brian Clough derby). I’ll catch that one tomorrow (don’t tell me the result, John).
THE WESTERN was terrible so I switched to “The Choirboys.” It was also bad. A young James Woods is in it. Even he was bad.
UTAH RESULTS ARE FINALLY COMING IN: Cruz is at around 60 percent. Only about 2 percent of the sites have reported, but the Texas Senator reportedly is above 50 percent in every county.
Evangelicals as a group seem to be fine with Trump, but Mormons aren’t. Apparently, they are turned off by the tycoon. I’m not surprised.
Meanwhile, Sanders is doing even better in Utah than Cruz so far. And Sanders seems poised to defeat Clinton in Idaho too.
BACK TO ARIZONA: About two-thirds of the vote has been tabulated and Trump is at 46.5 percent. That’s very impressive and more than good enough to win him all of Arizona’s GOP delegates. However, it doesn’t like look he’ll get to 50 percent.
BACK TO UTAH: Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, has tweeted that Cruz will exceed 50 percent in Utah and get all of the state’s 40 GOP delegates.
On the Democratic side, Sanders has already been declared the winner in Utah.
WOW: Cruz has two-thirds of the GOP vote so far. 15 percent of the caucus sites have reported.
I think it’s safe to say that Cruz will get all 40 of Utah’s delegates.
There’s a good race for second place. Kasich leads Cruz by half a percentage point (about 150 votes).
We won’t know how that one turns out for quite some time, so I’m going to call it a night.