Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the big winners in Florida tonight as CNN projects Trump and Clinton to secure the votes needed to win Florida outright. Florida wins for both camps will secure 99 delegates each in their respective primary races. Both candidates are gearing up for big celebrations in Florida tonight but both candidates have yet to address the media and declare their victories.
Donald Trump, in typical Trump fashion, actually declared victory on Twitter a little while before CNN called the race, when his victory was still a little uncertain. Still, Trump’s polls in Florida have been accurate, and he not only won Florida, but he won Florida by a big margin – beating out heated rival Marco Rubio in his own home state.
Trump’s victory over Rubio — by a big margin, double digits, and as votes are counted, the margin seems to be getting bigger and bigger — could very well signal the end of the Rubio campaign. Marco Rubio has suggested that he will hang on until the Republican Convention, but that remains to be seen after he has lost his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, his bitter rival.
Hillary Clinton similarly won handily over her opponent Bernie Sanders in Florida, not as much a surprise to CNN analysts, but still an important one. The Clinton campaign, according to CNN‘s Briana Keilar, has proven with this Florida win that they’ve got the best shot to take down Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in the general election since Florida is typically a “purple” state, a swing state in the general election.
Let’s dispel with this fiction that Florida does not know Marco Rubio. They know him very well—and said “nope” https://t.co/KfUWL75Rhk— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) March 16, 2016
Clinton, Trump, and Rubio have yet to address their supporters, but crowds are gathering at the headquarters for all three candidates this evening in Florida.
“Marco Rubio is young, he’s not dead,” said CNN analyst S.E. Cupp, addressing concerns about whether or not Marco Rubio has a future in the Republican party.
Earlier today Marco Rubio pledged to go all the way to the convention, “irrespective” of Florida results, but Donald Trump has beaten him handily in his own home state and CNN analysts speculated accurately that Marco Rubio will concede the race tonight. And as of this reporting, Marco Rubio has officially conceded the race.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign, like Trump’s campaign, won big tonight, delivering a serious blow to the Sanders campaign and widening the gap between Clinton and Sanders in the delegate count. Ahead of polls closing in a few other states tonight, Super Tuesday Part 3 might give Clinton the lead that she needs in order to secure the Democratic nomination.
Addressing his supporters, Marco Rubio gave his campaign speech for the last time tonight, as he announces that he has dropped out of the race. Facing an overwhelming defeat by Donald Trump, Rubio cautions his supporters against being angry or spiteful, and urges them to be hopeful despite his crushing defeat this evening. He congratulated his supporters, and congratulated Donald Trump on his victory, and bowed out of the race after speaking passionately about his supporters, and about all those who helped him along the way.
“It is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016,” Marco Rubio told supporters tonight, bowing out of the race and returning home to Florida.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have yet to address supporters, as of this reporting.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]