Battleground Florida: Who will come out on top?

Posted at 5:59 AM, Mar 15, 2016
ELECTION RESULTS | Get Real-time updates here


Up next in the 2016 presidential race: Ohio, Florida, three other big states and a great deal of hyperventilation.

Take a look:

  • A big night Tuesday for Republican Donald Trump in Florida, crushing Marco Rubio's presidential hopes.
  • A drag-out fight in Ohio between Trump and John Kasich, the popular Ohio governor who hasn't won anything in the primary season and rarely comes close.
  • A strong night for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina and probably Florida.
  • But can Bernie Sanders upset her in Ohio, Missouri or even her native Illinois, and keep rocking a Democratic race that remains tilted toward his opponent?


At stake: 99 GOP delegates and 214 Democratic delegates

It was supposed to be Rubio and Jeb Bush at the top of the pack in a mighty struggle for their home state's big delegate prize.

Bush is long out of the race; Rubio is on the ropes. If the polls hold, Trump, a part-time resident and big spender in Florida business, will win the biggest prize of the night: all 99 Republican delegates.

In the Democratic campaign, the stars appeared aligned for Clinton, with Florida's older population a counterweight to the youth vote that has propelled Sanders elsewhere. All 2016 Democratic races are proportional — as all Republican ones have been until now — so each candidate will come away with delegates based generally on how well they do.

Trump faced heavy advertising against him and a big test of his boast that Hispanics will support him despite his caustic remarks about Mexican immigrants and contentious immigration plans.

Florida's Latino population is large and diverse — with a strong segment of Cuban-Americans who are more open to Republicans than some other Hispanic groups. But Rubio is one of them, and speaks the language.


At 7:30 p.m. EDT, polls close in Ohio and North Carolina.

At 8 p.m., final polls close in Florida, Illinois and Missouri.

Expect a rush of results when polls close, because of ballots cast before Tuesday or earlier in the evening. North Carolina, for example, was a big-absentee-voting state and may have close to half the votes counted in the first hour. In Florida, 95 percent of the polls close at 7 p.m.

Illinois and Missouri are expected to be slower reporting than the rest.

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