When all the results are in from Super Tuesday II, Republicans could find themselves in a state of chaos they haven’t seen in decades.
It all stems from Marco Rubio starting the day vowing that his candidacy will move on “irrespective” of the results in Florida. Rubio, who trails front-runner Donald Trump badly in his home state, told Fox News he’ll be traveling on to Utah, which votes next week, no matter what.
“Obviously the difference is we’ll either be in Utah with a lot of momentum with the wind at our back or we’ll be in Utah after a disappointing night but we’ll be there nonetheless,” Rubio said.
He added, “This election is far from over.”
Further, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is voicing confidence that he’ll be able to press on after Tuesday.
Though he’s caught in a tight race with Trump in his home state, his campaign is not entertaining a losing scenario; Kasich is planning to win and to continue on to Pennsylvania.
Asked by Fox News what the governor would do if he loses, a spokesman said: “He's going to win Ohio, so I'm not going to entertain your question.”
The remarks scramble expectations for the primary race. To date, Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have been pressuring both Rubio and Kasich to get out, hoping Tuesday’s five primaries might be the final blow to their underdog bids. But if they stay in, they could continue to draw delegates and help prevent any candidate from clinching the nomination before the convention.
Kasich, speaking to reporters in Ohio after casting a vote for himself for president, also said he’ll be “forced, going forward, to talk about some of the deep concerns” he has about Trump’s campaign including combative comments the Republican front-runner has made in recent days about his rallies.
Both Ohio Gov. Kasich and Florida Sen. Rubio are desperate for wins in their home states. On the Democratic side, front-runner Hillary Clinton is hoping to stop Bernie Sanders’ momentum in the Midwest.
Tuesday’s contests -- dubbed Super Tuesday II -- will decide whether Trump all but seals his bid for the Republican nomination.
With Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina also holding Republican and Democratic primaries, Tuesday has more delegates up for grabs than almost any other day on the campaign calendar.
Already, Trump scored a win Tuesday in the Northern Mariana Islands' GOP caucus.
The Republican Party said the billionaire businessman won almost 73 percent of the vote in Tuesday's caucus. He will get all nine delegates from the U.S. territory.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in second with 24 percent of the vote, while Kasich and Rubio finished a distant third and fourth, respectively.
Trump currently leads the race for delegates with 469. Cruz has 370, Rubio has 163 and Kasich has 63.
It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.
Polls show Trump beating Rubio by double digits in Florida, but Ohio is expected to be a closer race. Buckeye State polls have shown Trump trading the lead with Kasich, while the incumbent governor holds a slight lead in the polling average.
In a last-minute effort to shore up support in Ohio, Trump postponed a Monday evening event at Trump National Doral in Miami to hold a rally in Ohio outside Youngstown.
Trump enters the primaries embroiled in one of the biggest controversies of his contentious campaign. Trump has previously encouraged supporters to physically confront protesters at his events, but he's now facing criticism for promoting violence after skirmishes broke out at a rally last week in Chicago and a protester was punched by a Trump supporter Wednesday in North Carolina.
During an event Monday in Tampa, Trump was interrupted intermittently by protesters, some of whom were forcibly removed. Trump said he didn't want to "ruin somebody's life, but do we prosecute somebody like that?"
The vibe at Trump's events has deepened the angst over his candidacy in some Republican circles. Rubio and Kasich have suggested they might not be able to support Trump if he's the nominee, an extraordinary stance for intraparty rivals.
Kasich spent Monday campaigning alongside 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, a fierce critic of Trump.
"This is the guy Ohio has to vote for, and America's counting on you," Romney told the crowd at a Kasich event in North Canton.
While Romney has not endorsed Kasich, he's said he'll do whatever is needed to help all of Trump's rivals.
Rubio, despite having the backing of numerous GOP elected officials, appears to have slipped in recent public polls in Florida.
Cruz, Trump's closest competitor in the race, said Monday the goal for his campaign was to pick up delegates in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, claiming that he was "neck and neck" with Trump in all three states. Cruz also said his campaign was "surging" in Ohio and Florida, states thought to be longshots for him.
Among the Democrats, leader Clinton has been itching to look ahead to the general election but continues to face persistent competition from Bernie Sanders. While Clinton maintains a commanding lead in the delegate count, Sanders breathed new life into his campaign with a surprising victory last week in Michigan.
Reprising a theme that helped propel that Michigan win, Sanders on Monday pounded Clinton's past support for trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's escalated his criticism in recent days, hoping to undercut her edge among minorities and expand his advantage with white working-class voters.
"When it came down whether you stand with corporate America, the people who wrote these agreements, or whether you stand with the working people of this country, I proudly stood with the workers," Sanders said in Youngstown. "Secretary Clinton stood with the big money interests."
Clinton's team is attempting to tamp down expectations for Tuesday night, stressing that the race remains close in the Midwest, despite public polling showing her with a sizable lead. Still, she's eying the general election and escalating her attacks on Trump, saying he's "inciting mob violence" at his rallies.
"I do hold him responsible," she said in an interview on MSNBC. "He's been building this incitement, he's been leading crowds in jeering protesters"
The campaign next shifts to the West, where Sanders' advisers have suggested he could rattle off a win streak and enter April with the chance to put a dent in Clinton's delegate lead.
Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and Carl Cameron and The Associated Press contributed to this report.