Live Blog: Super Tuesday III

By Mark Joyella Comment

Super Tuesday #3Are you ready for some POLITICS? Of course you are. After all, this is the THIRD SUPER TUESDAY this year. Or, as you’ll see it on some of your cable news shows tonight, Super Tuesday III.

Like most sequels, you know this is going to be good. Or, it’s going to be really, really awful. Sort of depends on who your candidate is tonight, and what your feelings about the entire presidential campaign might be.

tw-25308BuzzFeed asked readers for a better name for this day, and as of 5 p.m. ET, the suggestion “Super Tuesday Judgment Day” was in the lead, followed by “2 Super 2 Tuesday.”

Donald Trump has expressed concern over reports of ballot issues in Florida, though elections officials in the state say complaints Trump’s name was left off the ballot have proven false.

Think Progress reported other problems were reported across the Sunshine State. A bomb threat shut down a polling place in Broward County for nearly two hours. In the city of Apopka, outside of Orlando, two polling places ran out of both Republican and Democratic ballots and began turning voters away.

What’s at stake tonight? From CNN’s Tal Kopan, a breakdown:

If Donald Trump sweeps all the GOP primaries today, his nomination will be all but confirmed. But if John Kasich can win Ohio and Ted Cruz can run close in some of the proportional races (and/or if Marco Rubio can win Florida, where he’s trailing by nearly 20 points in some polls), Trump’s ability to get to the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the race outright becomes much more difficult.

And if it looks like Trump might be close to not being able to hit 1,237, money and support will likely continue flowing to his opponents and the race may turn into a prolonged war over every delegate.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton faces a similar dilemma. She is most likely going to win the Democratic nomination, as it will be tough for Bernie Sanders to overcome the delegate defecit he has with her as of now.

But, if he can win a few states today or keep the race close, he will likely continue to be a thorn in her side all the way until the convention.

6:40 p.m. ET: Exit Polls We’ll have our first votes at the top of the hour, but for now, plenty of talk about the exit polls, including the key state of Ohio, where John Kasich hopes to put a dent in the Donald.

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7:20 p.m. ET: Florida, Florida, Florida We’re ten minutes away from the first polls closing, and early numbers indicate huge leads for Clinton and Trump.

7:30 p.m. ET: Ohio Polls have closed in Ohio, but networks say it’s too close to call on both sides.

7:33 p.m. ET: Trump Still Taking Shots at Megyn Kelly Donald Trump has re-tweeted a message taking a dig at Kelly:

8:00 p.m. ET: Projectionpalooza Polls closed, and everyone calls Florida for Clinton and Trump–with big, big margins.

8:10 p.m. ET: Rubio Speaks, and Drops Out Interrupting what was, at least on CNN, a political obituary (S.E. Cupp in dissent), Marco Rubio took the stage in Miami. He describes the political climate in the country as “America…in the middle of a real political storm, a tsunami.”

Rubio announces he has suspended his campaign.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, remains very focused on Megyn Kelly:

8:28 p.m. ET: Clinton Takes North Carolina Trump leads on the GOP side, but no calls yet.

8:38 p.m. ET: Easy States Done, Now It Gets Tricky And you know what that means. Magic Wall.

8:45 p.m. ET: Kasich Wins Ohio A major win for Kasich, and a disappointment to Trump. Crunching the numbers is underway on each of the cable news networks and CBSN, which has one of the most experienced journalists when it comes to presidential politics, Bob Schieffer, who is in full election night mode:

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8:55 p.m. ET: CNN Projects Clinton Wins Ohio Two big, big states fall to the frontrunner.

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9:00 p.m. ET: Clinton Speaks Clinton gets on ahead of Trump. Fox News carries a banner “awaiting news conference from Donald Trump after FL primary win.” If Trump hits the stage, who drops Clinton and who stays?

On NBC Nightly News (which has been updated live during the evening for the Western time zones), Chuck Todd described Clinton’s wins as the end of the road for Bernie Sanders.

On CBS News, Scott Pelley put the state of the night this way: “Now the Republicans. Donald Trump has won Florida, a fatal blow to Marco Rubio–ain’t no sunshine, and he’s gone.”

9:20 p.m. ET: Kasich Takes the Stage The governor shares a story from earlier in the evening, where he dropped into a restaurant in the hopes of grabbing some food, only to have the diners rise to give him a round of applause. “You’re going to make me cry,” he said. The banner behind him reads “as goes Ohio, so goes the nation.”

9:26 p.m. ET: The Most Opulent Is Yet to Come Trump will once again turn to a quasi address/news conference at the gilded Mar-a-Lago. No steaks on display–yet.

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9:40 p.m. ET: NBC Calls Illinois for Trump

9:54 p.m. Projection: Trump Wins North Carolina

CdooHUMUUAAEX8w.jpg-large10:00 p.m. ET: Trump Speaks A standard issue celebratory address by Trump, only tonight, at his right arm, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, accused of forcibly grabbing a reporter last week.

10:43 p.m. ET: Winding Down With three contests still outstanding, there are themes bubbling on social media, including criticism of comments about Hillary Clinton made by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, and Fox News Channel’s Howie Kurtz, who discussed how Clinton appeared–and how she sounded.

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