This Tuesday wasn’t as hyped and didn’t quite have the drama of Super Tuesday – yet there are several things we learned about the contest for the Republican nomination ahead of November’s US presidential election.
The attacks on Donald Trump are barely leaving a mark
After Super Tuesday, Donald Trump had another good evening. He won three states – two by big margins -and added to his delegate count.
The voices against Trump have become louder, the negative ad spend has increased and still people have come out to vote for him.
It doesn’t matter that his character, business record and past positions have come under assault, the Republican frontrunner continues to win people over with his angry populist positions.
Ted Cruz is now Donald Trump’s greatest challenger
The Texas senator won in Hawaii, a state where Marco Rubio invested money and resources and still stumbled in third.
He will be disappointed his conservative, evangelical pitch didn’t wrest a few more votes from Trump in Mississippi but he is now clearly best placed to blunt the businessman’s momentum.
One problem he has is that he spent a lot of time, money and resources in the south and most of those states did not go his way. With the nomination battle now moving to the west and mid-west, it becomes less welcoming territory.
He also knows there are many in the Republican party who dislike him.
They hoped his campaign would soon wither and die; they hate the way he has railed against the political establishment; and how he has bad mouthed fellow Republicans and promoted himself.
But now he’s emerging as the leader of the anti-Trump faction, there are some in the party who think they have to find a way to work with Cruz.
John Kasich is a regional candidate
While many people have grown to like and admire the Ohio governor in this campaign, he hasn’t done too well outside the mid-west or North East.
His appeal seems to be limited, although he’s polished up his second and third place finishes really well. His home state is a huge test.
He’s campaigning there in the old-fashioned way – getting out to small communities, shaking hands, kissing babies, posing for selfies (well it’s not all old-fashioned!).
His numbers tend to creep up the days before a vote. He’ll be hoping he can do the same there. Perhaps he can then expand the base of his support.
Marco Rubio is campaigning in the last chance saloon
The Florida senator came flying out of South Carolina energised and enthusiastic. He decided to go on the offensive against Trump and landed a few hefty blows.
But it simply hasn’t translated into votes for Rubio.
The best poll in his home state puts him 12 points behind Trump – and if that’s true, he has a big decision to make.
Does he go down fighting in his home state and risk humiliation? Or does he pull out before the poll on Tuesday and give himself the chance of a second act at some point down the line?
If he doesn’t win in Florida, it’s not just this campaign that might be over, but his entire political career.