Donald Trump took down Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) campaign strategy that largely relied on a sweep of the Southern states — the so-called SEC primary.
Quickly after polls closed, Trump was projected the winner in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
The race was still too close to call in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Cruz was ahead in Texas based on early results released by state elections officials before the polls closed.
Cruz’s campaign was counting on the evangelical vote to carry him in the southern states. “My 19-month-old daughter couldn’t color a map that’s better for us on March 1,” Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, told Politico in October.
In Georgia, which has 76 apportioned delegates, Trump had 46.8 percent of the vote with 2 percent of votes in to 21.2 percent for Cruz. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was close behind with 20.8 percent.
According to a Fox News exit poll, 46 percent of GOP primary voters in Georgia said they would be dissatisfied if Trump won the nomination. Forty-one percent in Tennessee felt that way.
Cruz spent Saturday rallying supporters in Georgia and Alabama. Trump held a rally at Valdosta State University on Monday, where a group of about 30 black students said they were asked to leave by security before the start of the event at the request of the Trump campaign.
On Sunday, Trump brought out Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to announce his endorsement.
Sessions said he told “Trump this isn’t a campaign; this is a movement.”
“This movement, he doesn’t take money from political groups and lobbyists. He is committed to leading this country in an effective way. You know, nobody is perfect. We can’t have everything, can we, Mr. Trump?” Sessions continued. “But I can tell you one thing, I think at this time in my opinion, my best judgment, at this time in America’s history, we need to make America great again.”