Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the early winners on Tuesday night as voters in a trio of Western states cast their ballots in primaries and caucuses. Both presidential front-runners easily carried Arizona, padding their delegate leads by claiming the biggest prize of the night. Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders fared better in the Utah caucuses, yet victories there (and in Idaho for Sanders) are unlikely to change the trajectory of a race that now heavily favors both Trump and Clinton. On the Republican side, Trump benefitted from a strong turnout of supporters in the nearly four weeks of early voting. When the first returns came in, he had 46 percent of the vote, more than twice the total of Cruz, who appeared to be hurt by the fact that Marco Rubio picked up more than 50,000 votes before he withdrew from the race a week ago.
Trump took all of Arizona’s 58 delegates.
Clinton had 57.8 percent to 40 percent for Sanders with 94 percent of precincts reporting in Arizona. The result, which came despite an aggressive late push from the Vermont senator, further solidified a delegate lead that appears nearly impossible for Sanders to overcome. High turnout was reported among Democrats in all three states, with voters waiting hours in line in a few locations and some complaining that officials had not opened enough caucus sites or polling places.
Even after Arizona was called for Clinton, Sanders urged voters to stay in line, hoping to narrow the delegate gap in a state in which Democrats award them proportionally. In fact, Clinton’s Arizona margin narrowed as the night wore on—and Sanders’s dominating performances in Utah and Idaho allowed him to claim the majority of delegates who were up for grabs on Tuesday.
The primaries played out as the candidates responded to the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels, and Clinton quickly pivoted to national security during her election-night remarks in Seattle. “The last thing we need, my friends, are leaders who incite more fear,” she said after calling our Trump and Cruz by name. “This is a time for America to lead, not cower.”