CLEVELAND (AP) — Hillary Clinton triumphed Tuesday in the Florida, Ohio and North Carolina presidential primaries, a commanding showing for the Democratic front-runner now eager to move on to the general election. But the contests brought little clarity to the Republican race, with Donald Trump winning big in Florida but falling in Ohio to the state’s governor, John Kasich.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio ended his once-promising campaign after his home-state loss, so the GOP primary is now down to three candidates: Trump, Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. It is far from clear if any can reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, ratcheting up the prospects of a contested convention.
“It’s a real election for someone who knows how to fix the country, the economy,” Kasich said in an interview with CNN moments after the Ohio race was called. “We’re fired up.”
By winning the Republican primary in Ohio, Kasich picked up all 66 of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention. Now all he has to do is win 91 percent of the remaining delegates and he can clinch the nomination before the convention this summer.
Clinton declared to cheering supporters at her victory rally: “We are moving closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November.”
Clinton’s victories in Ohio and Florida bolstered her argument that she’s the best Democratic candidate to take on Republicans in the general election. Her win in Ohio was a particular relief for her campaign, which grew anxious after rival Bernie Sanders pulled off a surprising win last week in Michigan, another important Midwestern state.
Clinton kept up her large margins with black voters, a crucial group for Democrats in the general election. Democratic voters were more likely to describe Sanders as honest, but more likely to describe Clinton’s policies as realistic, according to exit polls.
Campaigning Tuesday in North Carolina, Clinton said “the numbers are adding up in my favor.” She signaled an eagerness to move on to a possible general election showdown with Trump, saying he’s laid out a “really dangerous path” for the country.