Sen. Ted Cruz continued his pursuit of businessman Donald Trump by winning the most delegates at state in Saturday’s Republican county conventions in Wyoming, while Sen. Marco Rubio narrowly beat Gov. John Kasich in Washington, D.C. on the last day of voting before Tuesday’s all-or-nothing primaries in five states.
The Texas senator won nine of the 12 delegates that were up for grabs, while his Florida counterpart, Rubio and billionaire Trump won one apiece. One delegate was uncommitted.
A winner cannot be declared in Wyoming because another 14 of the state’s delegates will be awarded at the party’s state convention on April 16.
In Washington, D.C., Rubio won his third presidential contest victory. Earlier this month, he won the GOP caucuses in Minnesota and the party’s primary in Puerto Rico.
Rubio picked up 10 delegates with his Saturday caucus win in the nation's capital. Runner-up John Kasich was just 50 votes behind Rubio, and the Ohio governor will get nine delegates.
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None of the other candidates in the race won enough votes to earn any delegates.
March 15 will mark a second “Super Tuesday” with 358 delegates on the line in the Republican nominee race. Voters will go the polls in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
In Florida, Trump has surged in the polls ahead of this crucial contest, even as two Cuban-Americans — the state’s own Rubio, and Cruz — look to use their heritage in their favor. For Rubio especially, Florida's all-or-nothing contest could be his campaign's swan song if he doesn't win.
Rubio is relying on fellow Cuban-Americans to help defeat Trump and capture all of the state's 99 delegates. But the junior senator's membership in the Gang of Eight that pushed for immigration reform has gotten him into as much trouble with conservative Hispanics here and elsewhere in the country.
Trump sees Florida as a chance to knock Rubio from the race. At a weekend rally in Orlando, Trump repeatedly taunted the senator, calling him "little Marco" and bashing his Senate attendance record.
"If we win Florida, believe me, it's over," Trump told the boisterous crowd, referring to Republican chances of winning the general election.
Trump leads the overall race for delegates with 460. Cruz has 370, Rubio has 163 and John Kasich has 63. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.