Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Winner Aviation in Youngstown, Ohio, March 14, 2016.
Photo by Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

Trump’s Ohio loss muddles GOP race as Clinton racks up key wins

Donald Trump was denied a decisive victory in Ohio by home-state governor John Kasich in Tuesday night’s Republican primary contests, bringing into sharper focus the possibility of a contested Republican convention this summer.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton moved closer to securing the Democratic nomination, creating more distance between her own delegate haul and Bernie Sanders’ count with wins in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Kasich, a comparatively moderate Republican who is popular in the state where he has served as congressman and governor, captured Ohio’s 66 delegates in the winner-take-all contest, leaving a muddled picture that slows Trump’s progress towards the 1237 delegates he would need to capture the GOP nod.

But despite losing the midwestern prize of the Buckeye State, Trump still appeared on track to amass a impressive slate of delegates from the Tuesday contests.

He bested Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in close races in Illinois in North Carolina. And his massive victory in Florida gave the GOP frontrunner another 99 delegates and delivered a humiliating blow to Sen. Marco Rubio, whose hopes of salvaging his sputtering campaign were dashed after an embarrassing loss in his home state.

Rubio exited the race Tuesday, alluding to Trump’s success as an exploitation of the “politics of resentment” built on “preying on people’s frustrations.”

With GOP votes in Missouri still uncounted, Cruz also looked poised to pick up at least some delegates and maintain his spot as the GOP race’s second place competitor overall.

Clinton will benefit most from her gigantic victory in Florida, where she led Sanders by a two-to-one margin with 90 percent of precincts voting.

Sanders remained locked in close races with Clinton in Illinois and Missouri, which could add to the Vermont senator’s list of victories but would only marginally decrease his significant delegate deficit to Clinton.

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