Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored easy victories in Arizona on Tuesday amid controversy over lines at polling places that wrapped around the block more than an hour after polls were slated to close in the largest and most-watched of the day’s three electoral contests.
Clinton’s roughly 20-point victory came despite voting glitches that appeared to affect Democratic voters more acutely than Republicans, who had submitted mail-in ballots at a higher rate than Democrats. The large margin is a blow to her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had staked a comeback on Arizona.
Trump won by a decisive 24 percentage points over his nearest competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
Although hundreds of thousands of Arizona residents had already voted in the primaries through early balloting, long lines stretched outside many polling places, and similar delays were reported in Idaho’s Democratic caucuses.
“Thank you, Arizona!” Trump tweeted soon after the state was called for him, adding a series of hashtags to his post: #Trump2016, #WesternTuesday and #TrumpTrain.
In Idaho, lines stretched for several city blocks, according to local media reports. Caucusing could not begin until everyone who had gotten into line by 7 p.m. local time had entered, prompting many caucuses to start late. The state Democratic Party used its Twitter account, @idahodems, to urge voters to stay in line.
The primaries and caucuses came against a backdrop of terror, as voters woke to news of the attacks in Brussels that killed at least 31 people. The Islamic State terrorist syndicate claimed responsibility for the attacks, and the candidates spent much of the day talking about their plans to defeat it.
Trump had shifted to a heavy focus on illegal immigration and bringing more jobs back to the United States from overseas, but with the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, he appeared to once again make fighting terrorism his No. 1 talking point.
Following previous terrorist attacks, Trump has offered some of the most strident proposals — including a temporary ban on allowing most Muslims into the country — and has seen his popularity deepen.
“I have proven to be far more correct about terrorism than anybody — and it’s not even close,” Trump tweeted late Tuesday morning. “Hopefully AZ and UT will be voting for me today!”
Arizona, with 58 Republican and 75 Democratic delegates at stake, was the largest prize in the presidential race Tuesday. Both parties also held contests in Utah, along with Democratic caucuses in Idaho.
Trump has significantly lightened his travel schedule since the burst of primaries March 15, when he won in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.
SOURCE: Anne Gearan and Jenna Johnson
The Washington Post