Election 2020

Rubio, Kasich Split Washington, D.C., Trump and Cruz Trail Badly

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks at a rally Feb. 21, 2016, in Franklin, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Marco Rubio won the Washington, D.C. Republican primary, with John Kasich close behind him. In a strong rebuke to the general trend of the Republican primary thus far, both delegate front-runners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, fared poorly and won no delegates, burnishing their anti-establishment credentials.

Rubio won the district with 37.3 percent of the vote, while Kasich came in a close second with 35.5 percent. Trump took third with 13.8 percent, and Cruz placed last with 12.4 percent. Expect to hear Cruz claim the true win of the night, as he solidifies his anti-“Washington Cartel” status.

The 19 delegates at stake in Washington, D.C., split nearly evenly between Rubio and Kasich. Rubio won 10, and Kasich took 9. Neither Trump nor Cruz scored a single one.

While some Republican leaders connected with the “establishment” have backed Cruz this week, the Washington, D.C., primary seems to show that GOP elites have not yet given up hope on Rubio and Kasich.

Primary turnout vastly exceeded expectations. The D.C. Republican Party only had one polling location, and the line to get in stretched for many city blocks. There are reports of people waiting over 3 hours to vote.

Next Page: How does D.C.’s Primary Impact the Race?

The Washington, D.C., primary makes little dent in the race, but it does remove delegates from the Trump column. Guam’s early primary this morning gave Cruz the single pledged delegate, and the Wyoming caucus this evening gave Cruz a moral victory — the first majority in any state in the national Republican primary so far. Nevertheless, the shape of the race changed little.

Trump still leads, with 460 delegates. Cruz has gained a little, but is still a close second with 370, while Rubio trails with 163 and Kasich is still last with 63. A candidate must win 1,237 delegates to win the nomination outright before the July convention in Cleveland, Ohio. If the race continues in this vein, Trump and Cruz will lead, but neither will win.

All eyes are on Florida (Rubio’s home state) and Ohio (Kasich’s home state) as vital tests for the underdogs’ campaigns. Both states are winner-take-all and vote this coming Tuesday, March 15. Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina also vote on that day.

There have been rumors of Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich teaming up to stop Trump on the Ides of March. This scenario has Rubio and Kasich focusing on Florida and Ohio respectively, leaving the three other states for Cruz. Even if there is no collusion, this would be a good strategy for all three candidates, and news reports confirm each campaign is likely following this strategy separately — with or without a secret “gentleman’s agreement.”

Some say the protests and violence surrounding Trump’s recent rallies will strengthen The Donald’s campaign, but in every primary today, Trump fared poorly. This coming Tuesday, voters may show whether these reports confirm Trump’s status as a maverick opposed by wrong-headed people or an instigator of such violence himself. America is waiting with bated breath for the answer.