, CLEVELAND, Ohio, March 16 – Hillary Clinton took a monumental step toward clinching the Democratic party’s White House nomination Tuesday, while Donald Trump’s seemingly unstoppable rush to victory hit a bump in Ohio.
Trump won key Republican primaries in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida – where he thumped home state Senator Marco Rubio, who immediately announced he was suspending his presidential campaign.
“This was an amazing evening,” a buoyant Trump told supporters. “We’re going to win, win, win and we’re not stopping.”
- Trump's incendiary attacks on immigrants, threats of mass deportations and a proposal for a wall on the border with Mexico have ignited the campaign trail and drawn condemnation in some quarters -- the latest being from President Barack Obama.
- Republicans will now have to decide whether to rally behind one candidate or siphon votes away from Trump as a team.
Rubio’s loss was a major setback for Republicans trying to stop the bellicose businessman, whose populist anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim stance they fear will split the party.
The 69-year-old Trump was clinging to a narrow lead in Missouri with nearly all of the votes counted, but was denied a clean sweep by Ohio Governor John Kasich, who carried his home state, a key general election battleground.
Trump may now struggle to reach the 1,237 delegates necessary to avoid a challenge at the party’s nominating convention in July in Cleveland.
“The bottom line after tonight: it looks like Trump will not have a majority of delegates in July,” said Paul Beck, a professor of political science at Ohio State University.
– Big night for Clinton –
There were fewer problems for Clinton, who defeated her rival Bernie Sanders in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois. She also had a slight edge in Missouri, according to vote tallies.
Sanders now faces an almost impossible task to catch up with Clinton’s formidable delegate advantage.