With five Republican nominating contests tomorrow, which will likely go a long way in deciding who’ll win the GOP nomination, this weekend’s results may appear largely inconsequential, especially given their modest delegate totals.
But let’s not brush past them too quickly, because the weekend offered an example of something we almost never see: a candidate bragging about a last-place finish. The Hill reported:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday crowed about his freedom from the political establishment in Washington, D.C.“According to Washington, D.C., I am dead last,” he said, citing his last place finish in the GOP presidential caucuses in the nation’s capital the day before. “That result didn’t surprise me at all,” he told listeners in Concord, N.C. “If you have an election of lobbyists, they’re going to elect their interests. When you get out of Washington, D.C., and you actually get into America, the reaction is going to be a little bit different.”
The senator’s analysis notwithstanding, he’s correct about the results. Marco Rubio added to his woeful victory column, winning the Republican caucuses in D.C. by a very narrow margin. In a contest featuring very low turnout, the Florida senator finished with 1,059 votes (37%), just 50 votes more than John Kasich, who finished second.
Ordinarily, when a rival wins a nominating contest, other campaigns make every effort to downplay the results, but in this case, Ted Cruz’s team was only too pleased to let people know that Rubio was the top choice of literally-inside-the-Beltway Republicans.
The results fit into a convenient narrative for the Texas senator: Rubio’s “base” tends to be the Republican establishment in Washington and D.C. pundits who still sing Rubio’s praises. But that’s not necessarily a selling point to far-right voters in the rest of the country. (Rubio also did very well in Virginia’s inside-the-Beltway congressional district two weeks ago while losing the state overall.)
Cruz fared far better in Wyoming, where he received 66% of the vote, far ahead of Marco Rubio’s 20% second-place showing. The 44-point landslide was actually the largest of the Republican race thus far.
Guam Republicans also met over the weekend, and though “uncommitted” was the big winner, Ted Cruz picked up a delegate with support from Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo.