- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Hillary Clinton easily won the Democratic presidential primary in Virginia on Super Tuesday while Donald Trump narrowly defeated Marco Rubio for the GOP win.

Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s election in Virginia, a key swing state that is likely to be a focal point during the general election.



Republican Donald Trump enjoyed large support from rural, less educated and lower-income voters in Virginia. He did much worse in Virginia’s voter-rich suburbs around Washington, D.C., and Richmond, where Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the top choice. Those voters tend to be more educated and wealthier, and identify more with establishment Republicans.

Northern Virginia has been key to helping Democrats win all statewide offices in recent elections. If Trump becomes the nominee and wants to win Virginia in November, he’ll need to win over Rubio supporters.

The challenge: Some Rubio voters have said they would never support Trump if he became the GOP nominee.

“I’m hoping for a third-party candidate if that happens,” said James Hadland, a suburban Richmond Rubio supporter.

In a similar vein, Clinton struggled mightily with millennial voters, a group she will need on her side if she wants to be successful in November.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received about 7 in 10 votes among voters under 25 and did well in college towns including Charlottesville, where he beat Clinton by about 7 percentage points.



In recent years, the Republican Party in Virginia has been at war with itself, with the establishment GOPers and tea party types repeatedly exchanging blows. The biggest flashpoint was in 2014, when tea party favorite Dave Brat scored a historic upset over then-U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a congressional primary.

If circumstances had remained the same, tea party favorite Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would likely have been in a good position to do well in Virginia. Cruz launched his campaign here and received the backing of former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who remains popular among tea party supporters.

But Trump has radically reshaped the tea party movement, both in Virginia and nationally, and taken many of its adherents with him, said Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University.

“He remade it in the image of Donald Trump,” Kidd said.

As such, parts of the state that should have been reliably Cruz-friendly went for Trump instead. Cruz came in a distant third in Virginia.



Republicans are pointing to the massive turnout on the GOP side as a good omen ahead of the November election. More than 1 million votes were cast for Republicans on Tuesday, while only about 780,000 were cast in the Democratic primary.

“Talk about an enthusiasm gap!” said Republican Party of Virginia Executive Director John Findlay in a statement.

But Clinton supporters are brushing off those numbers, saying higher turnout in primaries hasn’t translated to general election wins in past contests. They also note that Clinton won about 147,000 more votes than Trump.

“Hillary Clinton out-performed all expectations in Virginia last night, winning in every corner of the Commonwealth and with nearly every demographic group. The coalition of Virginians that came out to support her reflects what is needed to win in November,” said Brian Zuzenak, a political aide to Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Clinton supporter.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide