Winner-Take-All Primaries Are Here: What To Watch For On A Crucial Election Day

Top row, from left: Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich; Bottom row, from left: Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump. (All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Written by Michael Sol Warren

UPDATE 10:01 a.m.: Donald Trump won the Northern Marianas Islands Republican caucus, winning the territory’s nine delegates. The race was called by the Associated Press at 9:44 a.m.

Everything is in place for this to be  make or break day in the 2016 primary elections. Voters in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and the Northern Marianas Islands will head to the polls today. Here’s what to watch for.

Democrats

The Democrats will hold primary elections in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio today. Florida is worth 214* delegates, Illinois is worth 156 delegates, Missouri is worth 71 delegates, North Carolina is worth 107 delegates and Ohio is worth 143 delegates. A candidate needs a total of 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. Each of the states award delegates proportionally, so a candidates margin of victory matters here.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads the Democratic race with 768 delegates. She is favored in each of the Democratic races today, and if she is able to avoid upsets then the Democratic race will be all but over after today. Clinton should score her biggest wins in Florida and North Carolina today given her domination in the South to this point.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Clinton has a 99 percent chance of winning Florida, a 99 percent chance of winning North Carolina, a 96 percent chance of winning Ohio, a 90 percent chance of winning Illinois and a 55 percent chance of winning Missouri

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Bernie Sanders

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is second in the Democratic race with 554 delegates. Sanders faces an uphill battle in every state today, but his big upset victory in Michigan showed that he can’t be counted out too quickly. The Senator will need a few of these upsets today; he is already dangerously behind Clinton and a disappointing showing today would all-but-eliminate him. Keep an eye on Missouri and Illinois as Sanders’ best chances to win today.

Republicans

The GOP will hold primary elections in each of the five states today as well as a primary caucus in the Northern Marianas Islands. For Republicans, Florida is worth 99 delegates, Illinois is worth 69 delegates, Missouri is worth 49 delegates, North Carolina is worth 69 delegates, Ohio is worth 63 delegates and the Northern Marianas Islands are worth nine delegates. A candidate needs a total of 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination.

March 15 is of extra importance to republicans because it is the first day on the calendar in which state’s can choose to hold elections in a winner-take-all format. Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and the Northern Marianas Islands all operate on this system; the candidate that wins the majority those races will win all of the delegates. North Carolina distributes its delegates proportionally.

GOP front-runner, Donald Trump.

GOP front-runner, Donald Trump.

Donald Trump

New York businessman Donald Trump leads the Republican race with 464 delegates. Trump is favored to win in every race except of Ohio today. If he is able to sweep the polls today, Trump will be looking at a clear path to clinching the Republican nomination.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump has a 98 percent chance of winning Florida, an 89 percent chance of winning North Carolina, a 63 percent chance of winning Illinois and a 36 percent chance of winning Missouri

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is second in the Republican race with 372 delegates. Cruz has had the most success in challenging Trump so far and he has a good shot of winning delegates today. Look for Cruz to have his best performance in Missouri today.

 

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is third in the Republican race with 166 delegates. The Senator’s chances to win the nomination outright are likely done at this point; his best chance is that no candidate reaches the 1,237 delegate threshold. This would send the Republican party to a brokered convention in July in which delegates would be unbound. Rubio would do himself a big favor by winning his home state of Florida, but Trump is heavily favored in that race.

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

John Kasich

Ohio Governor John Kasich is fourth in the Republican race with 63 delegates. Like Rubio, the Governor’s best hope at this point is a brokered convention in July but he’ll need to win his home state today to have a realistic chance of that happening. Unlike Rubio, Kasich is actually favored to win his home state.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Kasich has an 87 percent chance of winning Ohio.

*Delegate counts in this article refer only to pledged delegates. Unpledged “superdelegates” are not included because they can switch between candidates at any point before the party’s convention.

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