Donald Trump added 99 delegates to his Republican National Convention total on Tuesday night with a crushing victory in Florida’s Republican primary election that will bring new calls for Sen. Marco Rubio to end his White House bid.
The state’s winner-take-all rules, shared by Ohio’s Tuesday primary matchup, translate to a windfall of spoils for The Donald, and a world of hurt for Rubio.
But the results in the two contests couldn’t be more different. Florida was a Trump-friendly bloodbath. Ohio’s race looked to be a rare defeat for him at the hands of Gov. John Kasich.
Election watchers called the Florida race for Trump at 8:00, once polls in the state’s panhandle region – which is part of a separate time zone – closed for the night.
With 71 per cent of votes counted, Trump had collected 45.3 per cent – a seemingly insurmountable lead of more than 284,000 votes over home-state-senator Rubio, who sat in second place with 27.7 per cent.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sat in third place with 16.4 per cent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich brought up the rear with 6.6 per cent.
Trump was his usual overstated self on Twitter, writing: ‘Word is that, despite a record amount spent on negative and phony ads, I had a massive victory in Florida. Numbers out soon!’
The front-runner also opened up an early lead in North Carolina after the first 12 per cent of votes were tallied, collecting 41.5 per cent of the vote compared to Cruz’s 33.6 per cent.
Kasich and Rubio were far, far in the distance.
The earliest returns in Ohio, representing 8 per cent of votes, showed Kasich with a 13-point lead over Trump.
That could change as different regions of the state turn in their totals.
Kasich was expected to perform better in his home state than Rubio did in his own, but he never led by more than 5 percentage points in statewide polls.
Trump will hold a press conference at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach. The event is scheduled for 9:00 at night.
But it will resemble a campaign rally more than a media event. Reporters and camera crews were kept behind nearly 500 chairs set up for Mar-a-Lago members and Trump’s high-society friends.
Read more: Daily Mail