By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Donald Trump and his wife, Melania
March 22, 2016 – Tonight’s “Western Tuesday” included two Republican matches. Businessman/reality TV celebrity Donald Trump won the Arizona GOP caucus with 47.1%. Texas Senator Ted Cruz had 24.4%, while Ohio Governor John Kasich got 10% of the Arizona vote with 74% of precincts counted.
But in Utah, Ted Cruz dominated, wining with 69.2% of the vote. Kasich placed second in Utah with 16.7% , while Trump trailed with 14.1% as of midnight tonight, with 59% of precincts counted, CNN reports.
Both Utah and Arizona are winner-take-all states for Republicans, leaving Kasich shut out for the night.
That gives Trump 741 delegates total to date. Cruz has 461 and Kasich 145. 1,237 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot.
Ads in Utah purchased by a super-pac backing Cruz showed nude photos of Trump’s wife, Malania, taken during a modeling shoot for GQ. The ads may help account for Trump’s poor showing in Utah, a heavily religious Mormon state. Trump fired back, "Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!"
Cruz’s win in Utah affirms his position as the candidate most likely to have a shot at blocking Trump, though a brokered convention remains possible if no candidate secures the nomination outright. But with nearly 2/3 of the needed 1,238 delegates now in Trump’s camp, the outspoken billionaire’s odds of winning the Republican nomination are getting stronger, by any objective forecast.