Rhode Island, Connecticut deliver landslides to Trump

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/04/27/rhode-island-connecticut-deliver-landslides-to-trump/

PROVIDENCE – The Ocean State gave GOP frontrunner Donald Trump his most lopsided primary victory to date, with about 64 percent of Rhode Island Republican primary voters supporting the New York billionaire in Tuesday’s presidential primary.  Ohio Gov. John Kasich received 24 percent of the Republican vote and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz lagged behind at 10 percent, according to the R.I. Board of Elections.

Trump not only crushed his opponents in this small New England state, he also reportedly inflated R.I.’s GOP ranks by 127 percent. By contrast, the state’s Democratic presidential primary drew 37 percent fewer votes yesterday than in 2008, according to GoLocalProv.com. 

On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took about 55 percent of the vote, despite heavy party establishment support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Sanders supporters told the Providence Journal that, given Tuesday’s results, the state’s super-delegates should rethink backing Clinton.

Only 15 of the Ocean State’s 33 delegates were chosen by voters on Tuesday. Nine super-delegates are already committed to Clinton, and the R.I. Democratic Party will choose another 9 delegates.  

Rhode Island was the only state of the five with primary elections Tuesday that let independents vote in party primaries, despite its semi-closed primary status. That likely helped both Trump and Sanders win in the state.

The outcome came as no surprise to the Providence Journal, which editorialized that the lopsided margins reflected the anger Rhode Islanders feel toward the political establishment over the state’s “decades-long loss of high-value manufacturing jobs, and an unemployment rate that remains worse than the nation’s and New England’s worse, in fact, than any New England state except Connecticut.”

But in the neighboring Nutmeg State, Clinton was able to hold off Sanders, capturing 51 percent of the vote to his 47 percent, according to official results.

Connecticut Republican voters, like their neighbors to the east, came out strongly for Donald Trump. With results counted in the vast majority of precincts, Trump collected about 58 percent of the Connecticut GOP vote, compared to 29 percent for Kasich and 12 percent for Cruz.

Dan Haar, a Hartford Courant columnist, called the former reality television star’s victory “partly celebrity power and partly just plain frustration with the system, everywhere.”  

Connecticut Republican Party chairman J.R. Romano told the Courant that by drilling down on economic issues, Trump captured the attention of a state that is still reeling from the past recession, which ended in 2009.

“Families are feeling it here,” Romano told the newspaper. “In this state, more than others, we’re desperate for leadership.”

Trump swept all five primaries Tuesday, including Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, to pick up 109 convention delegates and push his total delegate count to 953. He needs 1,237 votes on a first ballot at the party’s national convention to avoid the possibility of a contest and win the nomination outright.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.