Tuesday’s primary in Arizona could have been the test case for how Donald Trump fares in a head-to-head race with a single other Republican competitor. John Kasich opted not to compete in the state, giving anti-Trump Republicans hope that Ted Cruz might have a shot to pull off a surprise win over Trump.
Instead, Trump won handily, taking all of Arizona’s 58 delegates. And it was partly because of Marco Rubio.
With half the vote still outstanding in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast, it is not yet clear just how much of a factor Rubio was. But it is clear that for now, at least, Trump continues to benefit from a fractured field.
By 3:00 AM on the east coast, Cruz had been declared the winner in Utah, and looked poised to take over 50 percent of the vote there, claiming all of the state’s 40 delegates. Such outright wins are a high priority for anti-Trump forces, who hope to prevent the brash front-runner from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination before the convention.Kasich both campaigned in Utah and ran ads there, efforts that some anti-Trump Republicans believed would have little effect except to keep Cruz from hitting 50 percent and sweeping the state’s delegates. With 27 percent of Utah precincts reporting, those fears appeared to be overblown. Cruz led with 71 percent of the vote. Kasich was a distant second, at 16 percent.
But whatever narrative emerges from Tuesday’s contests could be short lived. Over the next month, the primary process will slow considerably. There are only two contests during that period: Wisconsin on April 6 and New York on April 19. (Colorado will also bind its delegates to a candidate at a state convention.)
The breakneck pace resumes with a slate of east-coast primaries on April 26. By that time, the state of the race may have changed entirely.
— Alexis Levinson is the senior political reporter for National Review.