The Race to the White House (so far)
Editor’s note: Jessica DeLoach Sabin is a frequent contributor to Talk Business & Politics. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of Talk Business & Politics.
While the SEC primaries came without few surprises for many, the results have left us none the wiser on how the remaining candidates in the GOP presidential primary could overcome the tremendous momentum behind the Donald Trump campaign. For those of you who avoided all-things-politics on Tuesday and Wednesday, here’s a brief summary for you:
There were 11 states at play on Tuesday and Donald Trump won seven of them – including Arkansas. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has been largely criticized by the GOP frontrunner for not having won any states yet, managed to capture Minnesota. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won Alaska, Oklahoma, and his home state of Texas, which significantly boosted his delegate total. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Ben Carson, however, won nothing but remain in the race. (It’s worth nothing that Cruz lost Arkansas by a little over 9,000 votes and, more interestingly, that over 9,700 votes were cast in Arkansas for candidates who are no longer running in the race.)
For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won seven states and almost all by large margins. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. I-Vt., had the respectable victories of Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont. While Clinton is almost half way to achieving the number of delegates she needs to win in order to become the party’s nominee, Sanders still has plenty of reason to remain in the race, if for none other than he’s sitting on a multi-million dollar war chest and there are several states to go.
But let’s go back to the GOP’s contentious race for the White House.
After Tuesday night, one would assume that more candidates would drop out of the race – and Carson did. But would I suggest this? Not in the least, and that’s because I think the GOP’s best bet to combat the force that is Donald Trump rests in each alternative candidate’s ability to siphon off as many delegates from Trump’s overall total as possible. Even though Kasich obviously will not be receiving the GOP’s nomination, he still stands to play a tremendous role in Ohio, which is one of the most important states in the race.
Let’s not forget that there are also several more states to go.
On March 5 there are four primaries (Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine) with closed caucuses – which means that these contests are closed off to non-Republicans. This cuts off the efforts being made by independents and outsiders who have been crossing over to promote Donald Trump for the sake of propelling him into a race against Hillary Clinton in November. Idaho and Hawaii also have closed primaries on March 8th, while Michigan and Mississippi do not.
On a more local level, Arkansas had few surprises on Tuesday night. The most intense race of all was that of the race for Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice between Justice Courtney Goodson and Judge Dan Kemp. What many believed would be a tight race ended up being decided by a large margin in favor of Kemp (57-42%). While I do not doubt that the secret group working to portray Goodson as an “insider” had a significant effect on the race, I do believe that Kemp (and Goodson) worked very hard to turn out their own bases. Overall, I will forever remain disgusted at the idea of any judicial race becoming politicized. There is no place for endorsements from organizations like the National Rifle Association in these races and a greater attempt to keep dark money groups at bay is sorely needed.
Lastly, there were few surprises in our legislative races. The GOP incumbents who faced opponents purporting to be more conservative all survived, thus making Conduit for Action and Americans for Prosperity the undeniable biggest losers of the night. Get used to it, I say. The Private Option lives to see another day.