Clinton, Trump Win Arizona's Presidential Preference Election

Mar 23, 2016

 Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prevailed in Arizona's primary, putting them a step closer to wrapping things up and getting on with a head-to-head race for the White House, unobstructed by rivals who just won't quit.

Contests Tuesday in Arizona, Utah and Idaho were deciding how near that moment might be for one of them or both. The two are clear front-runners, but Clinton has an easier path. Democratic rival Bernie Sanders won in Utah and Idaho but Clinton's win in Arizona prevented the Vermont senator from cutting deeply into her delegate lead by night's end.

Even Trump, for all of his supreme confidence and frequent flights of hyperbole, is raising questions now about whether he can clinch the Republican nomination before the July convention. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won Utah's primary and was on pace to win all of the state's delegates by finishing with more than 50 percent of the vote.

If Trump is unable to seal the nomination before the convention, he'll be steeled for an extraordinary struggle in Cleveland against elements of the party that are exploring every option to hand the prize to another candidate. In contrast, Clinton's lead in delegates is close to unassailable, but coming primaries may be friendly enough to Sanders to keep him credibly in the Democratic fight.

Idaho and Arizona had reports of long lines heading into their contests. Democratic party leaders in Idaho delayed the start time for the caucus in Ada County, which includes Boise, to accommodate long lines of people waiting to enter the site.

In the Phoenix area, polling places were inundated with voters. Election officials in Maricopa County rushed extra Democratic ballots to one polling place after the location ran out.

The backdrop Tuesday was carnage in Europe. Will the deadly bombings in Brussels, tentatively tied to the Islamic State, nudge Republicans toward Trump, the man who wants to seal the borders to non-American Muslims? Or toward a Washington insider steeped in foreign policy and national security experience?

Well, it won't do that, because there is no such person left in the GOP race. But John Kasich or Cruz might be seen as having the steadier hand in crisis. So might Clinton, the former secretary of state, on the Democratic side.

THE LINEUP:

—Republican and Democratic primaries in Arizona. Trump's victory gave him all 58 delegates. Clinton stood to win at least 40 of the 75 delegates up for grabs. Sanders was picking up at least 16.

—Republican and Democratic caucuses in Utah. Cruz won more than 50 percent support, giving him all 40 delegates. Sanders will pick up at least 18 delegates in Utah while Clinton will receive at least 5. Nine Republican delegates are up for grabs in American Samoa.

—With 23 delegates at stake in Idaho's Democratic caucuses, Sanders was on pace to win 17 delegates while Clinton would get at least 5. Idaho Republicans handed Cruz a strong victory over Trump on March 11.