A Strong Saturday for Cruz
Republican Ted Cruz takes two states, while Democrat Bernie Sanders scores three weekend wins.
The voting in five states over the weekend showed that the races to pick this year’s nominees for president are far from over.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the caucuses in Maine and Kansas on Saturday. Those two victories were setbacks for the party’s front-runner, Donald Trump. The billionaire businessman scored two wins of his own, in Louisiana and Kentucky.
On the Democratic side, front-runner Hillary Clinton won by a wide margin in the Louisiana primary. But her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, won caucuses in three states: Kansas, Maine, and Nebraska.
Cruz Versus Trump?
Some political experts say Cruz’s Saturday victories could have a big impact. His strong showing gave hope to the Republicans who don’t support Trump that someone may be able to overtake him and win the nomination.
Two other Republicans remain in the race, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Cruz has called on them both to drop out. “As long as the field remains divided, it gives Donald an advantage,” Cruz said.
Trump told his supporters that he would welcome a head-to-head race with Cruz. “I want Ted one-on-one,” he said.
Both Rubio and Kasich have said they will continue to run, however. (A fifth candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, dropped out of the race on Friday.)
What’s Really at Stake?
In primaries and caucuses, candidates aren’t only trying to win the most states. They’re really concerned with getting the most delegates. Delegates are members of a political party who will nominate the party’s official candidate at their convention this summer. The candidate who wins the most delegates usually wins his or her party’s official nomination.
The number of delegates awarded by each state is based on population. States with more people have more delegates, so doing well in states with the biggest populations is important for candidates. For example, Clinton’s big victory this weekend in Louisiana helped offset her three defeats. That’s because Louisiana has a bigger population and more delegates than any of the three states Sanders won.
The winner of the Democratic nomination must have at least 2,383 delegates. In voting so far, Clinton has won 671, while Sanders has won 476. The Republican nominee must have at least 1,237 delegates. Trump has 384, Cruz has 300, and Rubio has 151.
On Tuesday, four states—Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi—will hold either primaries or caucuses. The candidates are mainly focused on Michigan, which has the most delegates.