- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on Mississippi presidential primaries (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is telling Mississippi voters that America needs to pay down its debt, balance its budget and strengthen its military.

Trump spoke to an overflow crowd of several thousand people at a campaign rally Monday evening at Madison Central High School. After a gymnasium filled up, people watched the event as it was shown on the scoreboard of the football field in the Jackson suburb.

The GOP front-runner says he intends to stop American jobs from moving overseas. He also says Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is “going down in flames.”

Republican Ted Cruz spoke to more than 200 people at a separate event Monday in Mississippi, the day before the state’s primaries.

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6:23 p.m.

Mississippi’s second-term Republican governor, Phil Bryant, is endorsing Ted Cruz for president.

The Cruz campaign announced Bryant’s support in a news release Monday. However, Bryant did not appear with Cruz when the Texas senator campaigned at a catfish restaurant in the Jackson suburb of Florence.

The announcement came one day before Mississippi’s presidential primaries, and less than two hours before Donald Trump was scheduled to appear at a high school in another suburb, Madison. Bryant says it’s time for Republicans to unite the party for the good of the state and the nation.

The governor’s spokesman, Clay Chandler, said in response to a question from The Associated Press last week that Bryant will vote for Trump in November if Trump is the Republican nominee.

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4:10 p.m.

Ted Cruz is telling Mississippi voters that it’s easy to talk about making America great again but it’s more important to understand the principles on which the country was founded.

The day before Mississippi’s primaries, Cruz stood on a table and spoke to more than 200 people at a catfish restaurant in Florence, a blue-collar suburb of Jackson. The room’s wallpaper was black-and-white photos from the Andy Griffith Show. A 110-foot cross dominates the parking lot of the restaurant that’s built to look like a barn.

Cruz won rowdy applause Monday by saying he will protect gun owners’ rights, eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and nominate strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.

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11:56 a.m.

Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were scheduled to appear in Mississippi before its presidential primaries, but the state has received relatively little attention this campaign season.

Trump was scheduled to speak Monday evening in the Jackson suburb of Madison, ahead of the Tuesday primaries. It was to be Trump’s second appearance in Mississippi since early January, when several thousand people turned out to see him in Biloxi.

On short notice, Ted Cruz announced a Monday afternoon appearance at a catfish restaurant in another Jackson suburb, Florence.

Republican John Kasich has spoken in Mississippi twice in the past month. Marco Rubio has not campaigned in the state.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also have skipped Mississippi, but former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife last week in Jackson.

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10:59 a.m.

Mississippi has received relatively little attention from presidential candidates ahead of its primaries, with campaigns focusing time and resources in several other states.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump was scheduled to campaign in the Jackson suburb of Madison on Monday evening, ahead of the Tuesday primaries. It was to be Trump’s second appearance in Mississippi since early January, when several thousand people turned out to see him in Biloxi.

Republican John Kasich has campaigned in Mississippi twice in the past month.

A Ted Cruz event Monday in Ellisville was canceled because organizers said he wasn’t feeling well. Marco Rubio has not campaigned in Mississippi.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also have skipped the state, but former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife last week in Jackson.

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