GOP race tightens after Trump's losses

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 13, 2016.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 13, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump was badly defeated in contests on Saturday in the United States capital and Wyoming, suggesting that the race for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election is tightening.

The bombastic real estate mogul may be ahead in national polls and in party delegates, but Florida Senator Marco Rubio easily defeated him in the Republican caucus in the US capital.

Mr Rubio earned 37.3 per cent of the vote against 35.5 per cent for Ohio Governor John Kasich, US media reported. Mr Trump was third, with 13.8 per cent of the vote.

Mr Rubio won 10 of the 19 delegates at stake, while Mr Kasich walked away with the other nine, leaving none for Mr Trump.

In the western state of Wyoming, Texas Senator Ted Cruz crushed Mr Trump by winning 66.3 per cent of the ballots in a party caucus, far ahead of Mr Rubio, his nearest rival, who earned 19.5 per cent of the vote.

Mr Trump came in third, with a measly 7.2 per cent. With these results, Mr Cruz wins nine delegates, while Mr Rubio and Mr Trump scored one delegate each, with another delegate uncommitted.

In other contests, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton won in the first Democratic Party caucus in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean.

The former secretary of state won four delegates, while her rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, won two, according to US media reports.

Mr Cruz picked up one delegate in Guam, which is another US territory in the Pacific, while the island's five other delegates were uncommitted, CNN reported.

The biggest prizes will be up for grabs tomorrow, when primaries are held in the five delegate-rich states of Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2016, with the headline 'GOP race tightens after Trump's losses'. Print Edition | Subscribe