Clinton and Trump surge on Super Tuesday, but rivals remain

Ron Kampeas

Hillary Clinton speaking during her Super Tuesday evening gathering at Stage One at Ice Palace Studios in Miami, Florida, March 1, 2016. (Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton speaking during her Super Tuesday evening gathering at Stage One at Ice Palace Studios in Miami, Florida, March 1, 2016. (Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton won most of the Democratic and Donald Trump most of the Republican state primaries on Super Tuesday.

But Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took enough states Tuesday night to stay competitive in the respective races.

Clinton, the former secretary of state, won seven states – Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Texas — out of the 11 in contention, and also won a territory, American Samoa.

Sanders, who has mounted a surprisingly strong challenge to Clinton, won not only his home state of Vermont, but also Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado – denting Clinton’s argument that he would not perform well out of his playing field.

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Sanders made history last month when he became the first Jewish candidate to win a primary, in New Hampshire.

Trump won six states — Arkansas, Tennessee, Vermont, Massachusetts, Georgia and Alabama — in the 11 Republican states voting Tuesday. But Cruz pulled out a victory in Texas, his home state, and in neighboring Oklahoma. Cruz had said he would quit if he could not win Texas, but he defeated Trump in the state by 14 points, 42 to 28 percent.

Trump and Clinton had hoped Super Tuesday, the day with the most contests, would be determinative and clear the field. It was not to be.

Cruz vowed in a speech late Tuesday to keep fighting, and called on other rivals, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to clear the field so he could confront Trump on his own.

Targeting Trump for deviations from GOP orthodoxy, Trump mentioned the real estate billionaire’s insistence that he would remain neutral in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“Donald Trump pledged to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. As president I will not be neutral,” Cruz said. “I will stand unapologetically with the State of Israel.” He also once again pledged to “rip to shreds” the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office.

Rubio won the Minnesota caucuses, his first since the nomination race began, and has vowed to keep in the race at least until his home state of Florida votes on March 15.

Rubio and Cruz both mentioned in explaining why they were sticking it out Trump’s equivocation over the weekend in rejecting the endorsement of David Duke, a white supremacist and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Trump, in his press conference celebrating his victory, once again disavowed Duke. “How many times are you supposed to disavow?” he said, clearly frustrated by the question.

Trump had disavowed Duke on Friday in a press conference, but resisted doing so despite repeated opportunities in a CNN interview on Sunday; an hour or so after the interview, Trump disavowed Duke again.

Republican states yet to be decided late Tuesday were Vermont and Alaska.

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