Election 2016: Primary Overview

Joseph Sturtz, Editor-in-Chief

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Monday, February 1st, the Iowa Caucus took place to help narrow down the potential candidates of the 2016 Presidential Election. To the surprise of many, frontrunner for the Republican Party, Donald Trump, was overthrown by Ted Cruz, who was down in polls 11% prior to the Caucus. Trump was followed closely by Marco Rubio, only 1.2% behind, while Ben Carson trailed the two, only gaining a total of 9.3% rating. Some major candidates to have dropped out include Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee.

On the Democratic side, things began to heat up faster than at any other time in this presidential campaign, as Hillary Clinton managed to squeeze past Bernie Sanders by the narrow margin of 0.3%. With the race growing to have room for only two Democratic frontrunners, Martin O’Malley was forced to drop out of the running after only gaining 0.6% of votes. This led to a controversy when those who had previously cast their votes for O’Malley to make the decision on the spot on which of the other two candidates they would then rather vote for, and besides the questioning of how these votes were counted in addition to those that had previously been counted, there was the issue of candidate Hillary Clinton supposedly winning delegates over coin tosses, though Bernie Sanders also won his share of delegates through the same method.

Taking place on February 9th were the New Hampshire Primaries. GOP results were back to reflecting those of polls, as Donald Trump won with 35.3%, 19.5% higher than the next candidate John Kasich, who had foregone attending the Iowa Caucus in order to rally in New Hampshire in an attempt to gain a larger following there. Following Kasich was Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, all within 1.1% of each other, and all winning the same amount of delegates. Republican candidates Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina dropped out of the race following these primaries, though Ben Carson, garnering a meager 2.3% of votes continues to run, saying that he does not feel pressure from his followers to drop out, and that he will be hoping for a major win in South Carolina.

On the Democratic side, votes showed favor to Bernie Sanders as he won with 60.4% of votes as compared to Hillary’s 38%. This could be due in part to New Hampshire’s proximity to the state of Vermont, where Sanders once served as Senator.

February 20th, two large political events took place–the Nevada Caucus for Democrats and the South Carolina primaries for the GOP. In Nevada there was yet another controversy over the caucus voting, because people were coming in and voting before registering, meaning that these votes may not reflect the votes of those who are legitimately eligible voters. Regardless, Hillary won over her opponent by a margin of 5.3%, as she had a total of 52.6%. The Nevada Caucus for Republicans took place three days later on February 23rd with the winner once again being Trump, who had a total voting percentage of 45.9% and won 14 delegates.

In the Republican primaries in South Carolina from the same date,Trump won over Marco Rubio by only 10%, but because of the way the South Carolina GOP structure works as a “winner-takes-all” system, Trump took all 50 Delegates the state had to offer. Between the next two candidates, Rubio overtook Cruz by a hair-thin margin of only 0.2%. In an unexpected turn of events, Jeb Bush announced that he was dropping out of the race, though he had more votes than John Kasich and Ben Carson, both of whom continue to run. The Democratic primaries in South Carolina take place February 27th.

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