**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
DEAR REPUBLICANS, IT'S TED CRUZ
What is the rationale for Marco Rubio’s candidacy?
The latest poll out from the classiest and most reliable Florida pollster, Quinnipiac University, says there is none.
After a week of disappointing elections for Rubio, the Florida Q Poll is the dagger to the heart of his presidential aspirations. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush can be happy that while his own bid failed, at least he killed the one his campaign staff called "Judas." Enjoy Fisher Island.
The poll shows frontrunner Donald Trump doubling up Florida freshman Rubio with less than a week to go before the winner-take-all contest for 99 delegates. Coming after a disastrous election night it should be enough to send Rubio packing.
The only argument for Rubio’s continued candidacy was the “Romney Plan” in which voters should support any candidate in any race that can beat Donald Trump or deny him delegates. It worked pretty well in Michigan where Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich soaked up the majority of delegates with their tie for second place behind Trump.
But there is no hope that Rubio can be the guy to stop Trump in Florida anymore. While Republicans have resisted Cruz, despite his repeated successes, it may be time for the party to admit that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is quite right: Cruz is the only candidate who has any shot of denying Trump the nomination.
While there was a wintertime flirtation with Trump as the more establishment-friendly and malleable candidate for the GOP, springtime has brought a new realization that Trump could mean not just a general election wipeout, but also generational damage to the party’s brand. Cruz has never been the GOP’s dream date, but if he can beat Trump it may be enough.
As the latest WSJ/NBC News poll shows, Cruz runs best in a head-to-head matchup with Trump. It may be unthinkable for many country club Republicans that Cruz would be their best choice, but Rubio’s demise means that it is so.
Just two weeks ago, there were calls for Cruz to fall in behind Rubio for a unity ticket. Now, it seems very clear that unity will work in the other directions and that if the Republicans have a chance to stop Trump from taking over their party it will be Cruz at the top and Rubio as the junior partner.
The sincerity of Rubio’s attacks on Trump as a “con man” who is unfit for the presidency will be revealed by whether he not only drops out, but if he enthusiastically campaigns for Cruz in Florida for the next five days.
[GOP delegate count: Trump 458; Cruz 359; Rubio 151; Kasich 54 (1,237 needed to win)]
On the campaign trail - Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio join Megyn Kelly on the campaign trail for a special town hall on tonight’s “The Kelly File” at 9 p.m. ET
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The last living silent film star, nicknamed “Million Dollar Baby” once captivated the attend of the nation, but at 97-years-old, the woman named Peggy-Jean Montgomery lives a pretty normal life thanks to her families mishandling of her fortune. The Hollywood Reporter brings us the story: “At the peak of her fame, the tiny film actress was an obsession for millions of Americans who bought Baby Peggy dolls, jewelry, sheet music, even brands of milk …After Universal gave her that seven-figure payday — her reward for shooting more than 150 shorts over three years, starting when she was 20 months old — she became even more famous, dubbed Hollywood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’ …By 1925, at the ripe old age of 6, the roles started drying up, Principal Pictures, run by legendary silent producer Sol Lesser, let her go following a dispute with her father, and her parents would spend nearly every dime she had made.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
National GOP nomination: Trump 36 percent; Cruz 21.8 percent; Rubio 18 percent; Kasich 12 percent
National Dem nomination: Clinton 51 percent; Sanders 39.6 percent
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +5 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Democrats +1
NEW POLL SHOWS HILLARY LEAD IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
The Hill: “Hillary Clinton has healthy leads over Bernie Sanders in Florida and Ohio, where voters will cast ballots in Democratic primaries on March 15, according to a new poll. A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday found Clinton crushing Sanders 62 to 32 in the Sunshine State. Here, Clinton is boosted by a huge lead among women voters, who support her 69 percent to 24 percent over Sanders. Clinton also has an 8-point lead among men, and even has the advantage over the democratic socialist among those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ Young voters have been Sanders’s bread and butter, but he and Clinton are tied among those under the age of 44 in Florida, each taking 49 percent.”
What went wrong for Hillary in Michigan? - WaPo’s Philip Bump explains why the Democratic frontrunner lost what was supposed to be a safe state for her Tuesday night: “Hillary Clinton lost the Michigan primary on Tuesday night, and the state pried open two critical seams holding her candidacy together…One thing that happened is that Clinton underperformed with black voters in the state. In Mississippi, which Clinton won easily, nearly two-thirds of the vote was black and it went for Clinton 9-to-1. Preliminary exit polling in Michigan suggests that only about a quarter of the electorate in the state was black -- and that Clinton's margin was closer to 2-to-1.”
Bernie joins the fight in Ohio -Columbus Dispatch: “A national voting rights organization - along with nine 17-year-old plaintiffs - is suing Secretary of State Jon Husted for his refusal to allow 17-year-olds to vote in next week’s presidential primary. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic candidate for president, filed a separate suit on the matter in federal court. Sanders has strong support among younger voters…In Ohio, 17-year-olds can vote only to nominate candidates, not directly elect them. In the 2015 Election Manual, Husted claimed that since voters in presidential primaries are technically electing delegates, they cannot vote in those elections.”
[Dem delegate count: Clinton 1221; Sanders 571 (2,383 needed to win)]
Doncaster (U.K.) Free Press: “Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport has taken delivery of plane loads of [cookies] to ease a national shortage. The cargo team at the airport have welcomed two Boeing 777 aircraft full of [cookies] into the region in the last two weeks. Dayle Hauxwell, cargo manager for Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: ‘There has been a lot of press coverage about Britain’s biscuit shortage following the floods in December and we are pleased to hear that the factories hope to be up and running again this month. In the mean time we’ve been delighted to welcome two flights from Emirates full of the nation’s favourite biscuits.’”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.