Ted Cruz Wins Idaho, Places Second in Three Other States

Senator Ted Cruz speaks to Texas reporters in Columbia following the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Feb. 20, 2016.
Senator Ted Cruz speaks to Texas reporters in Columbia following the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Feb. 20, 2016.

Editor's note: This story was updated on March 9 with the latest results.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday night won the the Idaho GOP presidential primary while placing second in three other states, continuing to demonstrate viability against frontrunner Donald Trump.

The Texas senator was victorious in the Gem State with 45 percent of the vote, trouncing Trump by 17 points with nearly all precincts reporting. It was Cruz's seventh win against Trump since the start of the nominating process, and it bolsters his argument that he is the most viable alternative to the billionaire.

Yet overall, Tuesday night was Trump's night, with the billionaire scoring wide margins in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii. He was on track to grab at least 71 delegates to Cruz's 56, regaining momentum after Cruz turned in an expectations-beating performance Saturday and walked away with the most delegates of the day.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday night in Florida, Trump dismissed the idea that Cruz was a serious obstacle on his path to the nomination. "He never beats me, meaning he rarely beats me," the billionaire said.

 

Trump decisively won in three of the four states that voted Tuesday. He beat Cruz by 9 points in the Hawaii caucuses, 12 in the Michigan primary and 11 in the Mississippi primary.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came in Michigan, where Cruz edged out Ohio Gov. John Kasich for second place by less than 1 percent. With almost all precincts reporting, Cruz had 24.9 percent to 24.3 percent for Kasich, who had put much more effort into the state.

Cruz had entered Tuesday looking to solidify his status as the GOP's only option beside Trump. The results gave Cruz fresh fodder to argue Trump is not invincible.

"There's no doubt that Trump has built this image of being unstoppable and unbeatable, but that image has crashed into reality," Cruz told reporters Tuesday evening after a rally in North Carolina. 

Tuesday also saw the continued decline of U.S. Marco Rubio of Florida, who missed key thresholds to collect delegates in Michigan, Mississippi and Idaho. He was on track to win few — if any — delegates overall.

Cruz was set to hold a rally Wednesday morning in Miami as part of an effort to keep Rubio from winning his home state when its voters head to the polls March 15. That is when Cruz is hoping the field will narrow to him and Trump for a one-on-one battle.

 

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