PHOENIX: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton today knocked down another barrier by winning in Arizona presidential primaries but the frontrunners lost out in Utah to their nearest party rivals who kept their chances alive as the race to the White House gathered steam.
The former reality star, Trump, and former secretary of state, Clinton, routed Bernie Sanders and Texas Senator Ted Cruz by notching up victories in the key western state of Arizona as they solidified their front-runner status in their parties for the November 8 presidential elections.
However, just a couple of hours later, the next-in-line to the nomination in both the parties – Vermont Senator Sanders and Texas Senator Cruz – received a huge morale boost by clinching much-needed victories in Utah’s presidential caucuses.
Victory of the 69-year-old real estate tycoon kept his momentum rolling despite concerted efforts by party establishment to thwart the billionaire’s presidential aspirations.
“Much bigger win than anticipated in Arizona. Thank you, I will never forget!”
“Thank you, Arizona,” Trump tweeted.
Clinton tweeted: “Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who are working so hard for our campaign. You’re knocking down barriers.”
With an impressive win in Arizona, Trump grabbed all the 58 delegates at stake in the State, thus, increasing his total to 739 delegates and further increasing the gap on delegate count with his main Republican presidential primary rival Senator Ted Cruz who has a delegate count of 425. To win the Republican presidential nominee, Trump needs 1,237 delegates.
He needs to win 52 per cent of the delegates in the rest of the Republican primaries. So far, the real estate tycoon has won 19 States as against Cruz’s victory in eight States so far.
In Arizona, Clinton’s sole rival Senator Sanders had polled 36.8 per cent of the votes as against more than 60 per cent by the former Secretary of State.
Clinton currently has 1,670 delegates, which includes 1159 won by her in various States and 467 super delegates who have pledged their support to her. Sanders has 886 delegates including 829 won in State primaries and caucuses.
The one with 2,382 delegates, would be declared the Democratic presidential nominee.
In Utah, media reports projected Cruz as the winner with about 70 per cent of the vote, with Ohio Governor John Kasich at 16 per cent and Trump at 13 per cent. After securing victory in Utah, Sanders now hopes to continue his winning streak in the rest of the Western States.
“Thank you to all those who caucused tonight in Utah!” Sanders tweeted.
The Democratic presidential primaries today were held in Arizona, Utah and Idaho and the race to White House now moves to the Saturday caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State.
Mainstream American media projected victory for Sanders in Utah based on results of initial counting of votes.
Sanders claimed 74.8 per cent of the vote to Clinton’s 24.1 per cent with just 11 per cent reporting.
Utah, whose population is more Caucasian, has 33 delegates up for grabs while neighboring Arizona, where a substantial Hispanic population helped Clinton secure victory, is a larger state with 75 pledged delegates at stake.
Setting an eye on the November elections after an impressive win in Arizona primary, Clinton slammed Republican counterpart Trump for running a divisive campaign and inciting fear among people.
“We need a president who can provide leadership that’s strong, smart, and steady. The last thing we need are leaders who incite more fear,” Clinton told her cheering supporters in Seattle in the Washington State in her victory speech.
“In the face of terror, America doesn’t panic. We don’t build walls or turn our backs on our allies. We can’t throw out everything we know about what works and what doesn’t and start torturing people,” she said in an attack directed at Trump.
“What Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and others are suggesting is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. It will not keep us safe.
This is a time for America to lead, not cower, and we will lead… We have to dismantle the global terror pipeline. We have to strengthen our defenses here at home and we need to work closely with our allies… This election really matters,” Clinton said.
“We need to keep working together. We need to make a point that we’re going into the future with confidence and optimism,” she said.
In her address, Clinton said this is not just a contest between candidates, but “between fundamentally different views of our country, our values, and our future”.-PTI