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Clinton wins four states; Rubio drops out of race after losing Florida to Trump

It was a big night for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Super Tuesday as both presidential candidates boosted their leads. Meanwhile, Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich kept his hopes alive by winning his home state.

On the Democratic side, Clinton won primaries in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois. Her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, struggled to get the boost he needed to try to close the gap in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton and Sanders were extremely close in Missouri, but final results weren’t available at deadline. Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, had worked aggressively over the last week to expand a beachhead in the nation’s industrial states after his upset victory in Michigan last week exposed new vulnerabilities for Clinton. That set up Ohio as a key contest, where both candidates campaigned extensively and spent large amounts on television advertising. Clinton’s victory there will go a long way toward solidifying her margin in the delegate race and reassuring her supporters. Clinton’s victory in North Carolina continued her sweep through the South, where black voters make up a big share of the Democratic electorate. And her decisive win in Florida, where she was taking nearly two-thirds of the vote, will net her a large majority of the state’s 246 delegates to the Democratic convention – the third-largest delegation after California and New York. The four wins mean Clinton will significantly expand her already large lead among delegates to this summer’s Democratic convention. They do not, however, give her an insurmountable lead. Meanwhile in the GOP race, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign for president after losing his home state’s winner-take-all Republican primary to Trump. Rubio congratulated Trump, but also lamented what he called the “politics of resentment” stirred up by the party’s front-runner, saying the nation was becoming a fractured place where “people literally hate each other.” “Do not give in to the fear,” Rubio said. “Do not give in to the frustration.” Trump also won Illinois and North Carolina, and along with the Florida victory, it was a big step forward in his quest to win the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, and it all but destroyed the viability of Rubio’s campaign.

Kasich’s victory in Ohio was important because it was a winner-take-all state and kept those delegates from going to Trump, who finished second in the voting in Ohio.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Trump were running neck and neck in Missouri, but final results weren’t available at deadline.