Aloha: Trump Wins Hawaii, Claiming Third Tuesday Victory

Posted: Mar 09, 2016 6:05 AM

Having posted double-digit wins in Mississippi and Michigan earlier in the evening, Donald Trump won Hawaii's GOP caucuses by roughly ten points over second-place finisher Ted Cruz, adding more delegates to his Tuesday haul. Trump pulled in just over 5,600 votes out in paradise, good for 42 percent of the vote. Even with Cruz's Idaho victory, Trump had by far the biggest night of the field -- both in terms of 'beauty contest' placing (three first-place finishes, and one runner-up status), as well as in the all-important delegate race:

Cruz comes out of the evening with a single gold and a trio of silver medals. In light of the results on Super Tuesday and last weekend (with a few notable exceptions), he clearly has the strongest argument that he is best positioned to be the last not-Trump candidate standing at this stage. Even so, his path to victory is extremely treacherous, for reasons we'll break down later. John Kasich banked his 17 delegates last night by storming back from afterthought status to a virtual tie for second place with Cruz in Michigan, equaling the Texan's delegate allocation in the Wolverine state. The Ohio governor appears to have been shut out of the delegate count in the three other states. The evening was an unmitigated mess for Marco Rubio, who finished dead last in Michigan and Mississippi, and a distant third in Idaho and Hawaii. His lone delegates of the night came out of the latter caucuses, thanks to Hawaii's pure proportionality allocation system. Rubio failed to clear delegate thresholds in the other contests (20 percent in Idaho; 15 percent in Michigan and Mississippi), and it wasn't especially close. With the exception of a handful of bright spots, the past eight days have dealt a heavy blow to Rubio's candidacy. He appears mortally wounded as he limps toward next week's must-win Florida primary; a loss to Trump in his home state would drop the curtain on his campaign for all intents and purposes.  I'll leave you with my abbreviated summary of Tuesday's results:

Trump may be an uniquely weak frontrunner in many ways, but he has a very realistic shot at effectively locking things up on Tuesday, depending on how the delegate math shakes out.  We'll have a better sense of that one week from today.