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Trump, Clinton move closer to Presidential face-off

Washington: Real estate mogul Donald Trump has swept the crucial Republican presidential primary in Florida taking away with all the 99 delegates from the State which will provide major impetus to his aspiration to become the US President even as Hillary Clinton has won the North Carolina Democratic primary.

The former Secretary of State was projected to bag at least 56 delegates out of 107 at stake in North Carolina.

Clinton also won in Florida after having a massive lead over her sole rival Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton had support of 65.6 per cent of the votes as against 30.6 per cent for Sanders.

Notably, Republican Senator Marco Rubio has ended his campaign after suffering a humiliating loss in his home state of Florida.

It has been a “devastating” night for Rubio in Florida where he polled just 27.8 per cent of the votes as against Trump’s impressive 45.3 per cent.

“Word is that, despite a record amount spent on negative and phony ads, I had a massive victory in Florida,” Trump said in a tweet even before major television channels projected his victory.

Being billed as Super Tuesday 2.0, primary elections were held in five States – Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.

Initial reports suggested that Clinton and Trump had leads in North Carolina where 72 delegates are at stake for the GOP. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was closely following Trump.

However, in Ohio where 66 delegates are at stake, State Governor John Kasich was leading against Trump. Clinton was leading in Ohio.

The primary elections held in five states yesterday is part of the process of both the Republican and Democratic parties to nominate their presidential candidates for the November 8 elections, which would elect the next occupant of the White House.
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It all started with the Iowa caucus on February 1, with 17 Republican candidates and three Democratic candidates in the race. A month and half later, during which primaries and caucuses have been completed in nearly three dozen States and territories, the race to the White House has shrunk to four candidates on the Republican side and two on the Democratic side.

It would all culminate in the once-in-four-year conventions of both the parties in July wherein their respective delegates from all 50 States and territories would democratically elect and nominate their presidential nominations.

The Democratic convention would be held in Philadelphia where the party’s 4763 delegates would nominate their presidential candidate. The nominee needs to have the support of majority of the 4763 delegates, which comprises of the elected delegates through the primary and caucuses and super delegates, who are party leaders and other elected officials.

Cleveland in Ohio will host the Republican convention wherein the nominee needs to have the support of at least half of the 2572 delegates.

If none of the candidates in the race are unable to have half of the delegates in their kitty before the Cleveland convention in July, the delegates would then vote for their favourite nominee, which might witness a rare horse trading in the American political system. However, the top leadership of the Republican party believe that this would be settled much before that and they would be able to avoid a contested convention.

Before yesterday’s primaries, Trump was leading among the Republican candidates with wins in 15 States and 469 delegates to his kitty. He was followed by Senator Ted Cruz with 370 delegates and wins in seven States. Senator Marco Rubio was a distant third with three wins and 163 delegates. The Ohio Governor had 63 delegates without winning a State.

On the other hand, in the Democratic front, Hillary Clinton had 1235 delegates as against 580 of the Senator Bernie Sanders. But the margin was much narrow when it came to elected delegates: Clinton (748) and Sanders (542).