Could Saturday's results be hinting at a one-on-one fight between Cruz and Donald Trump for the party’s nomination?
Ted Cruz trumped “The Donald” during March 5’s Super Saturday contests, winning 70 delegates to Trump’s 61.
With Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich failing to win any states on Saturday, some are seeing the nomination as winnowing to a two-man showdown between the Texas senator and charismatic billionaire.
Cruz sailed to decisive victories in Kansas and Maine, while Trump eked out victories in Louisiana and Kentucky. Trump still leads Cruz in the overall count by a 384 to 300 margin.
SMALL BUSINESS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: NFIB has the latest election news—along with what it all means for small business.
While the real estate mogul has defied conventional politicking by staying on top of national polls despite months of controversial rhetoric, the Super Saturday results might signal a growing effort by Republicans to rally around an anti-Trump candidate.
“If we want to beat Donald Trump, we have to stand united as one. That is happening in Idaho and across the country,” Cruz said during his Super Saturday victory speech at his Idaho campaign headquarters. “If you were supporting someone else, we welcome you to our team.”
Trump responded to the results and Cruz’s victories with his trademark sarcasm and derisive humor. “He should do well in Maine because it’s close to Canada,” Trump said, mocking the fact that Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada.
Many Republicans in Congress, including Cruz, have hammered Trump for being too liberal and for flip-flopping on issues such as universal healthcare, but this hasn’t stopped small business owners from supporting Trump. Thirty-eight percent believe he is the best candidate to support small business, according to a Manta poll. Hillary Clinton placed a distant second in the poll, coming in with 21 percent support.
Many voters have flocked to Trump for his business acumen and because he isn’t a career politician. He’s also vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dramatically cut taxes, both of which appeal to owners.
The next Republican primary contests are on March 8, where voters in important states such as Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii voice their opinions. Trump is polling ahead in Michigan, the most delegate-rich state with 59 at stake. Polling in the other three contests has been scarce, making a clear winner difficult to project.
*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB
photo credit: Michael Vadon