Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continued to march toward a U.S. presidential showdown in November with wins in pivotal primaries Tuesday March 15.
However, Gov. John Kasich’s long-awaited debut victory in his home state of Ohio raised the chances of a historic GOP convention fight.
A humiliating loss on home ground in Florida, meanwhile, ended the White House dreams of Sen. Marco Rubio, who was once hailed as a Republican Party savior.
Clinton took big strides toward the Democratic nomination by winning Florida and North Carolina. And in crucial victories, she stopped Bernie Sanders in his tracks in the industrial Midwest by taking Ohio and Illinois.
The Republican Party, meanwhile, veered closer to a contested convention after Kasich held his own state and deprived Trump of its 66 delegates. That makes it more difficult for the billionaire to reach the 1,237 delegates he needs to capture the GOP prize.
Trump did, however, prevail in the biggest contest of the night, taking all of Florida’s important 99 delegates. That resounding win helped force Rubio out of the race after failing to win his own state and unite the Republican establishment against Trump. Real estate tycoon Trump also won primaries in Illinois and North Carolina.
“This was a great evening,” he said. “This was an amazing evening.”
In Florida, there would be no suspense over the results of the presidential primary Tuesday night, where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton walked away with landslide victories.
“America is in the middle of a real political storm. A real tsunami. And we should have seen it coming,” he told his supporters at a rally in West Miami amid shouts of “I love you Marco.”
Rubio was stomped in his home state by Donald Trump, who won 45 percent of the vote, according to the Florida Division of Elections. More than 2.3 million people cast ballots in the GOP primary, but Rubio mustered only 27 percent, despite significant support in Miami-Dade.
Having also won a primary election in Ohio to take a commanding lead in the race for the party nomination, Clinton congratulated Sanders on running a feisty campaign during an election event at the Palm Beach Convention Center Tuesday night. She then called on any voters sitting on the fence to start supporting her.
“If you’ve been waiting for the right moment, now’s the time,” she said.