East County News Service
February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Billionaire businessman and reality TV celebrity Donald Trump has picked up his third win, this time in the Nevada Republican caucus.
He also picked up the endorsement of Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), one of only two Congressional members thus far to endorse Trump. Hunter called Trump a “strong leader” and indicated he backs his stances on immigration among other issues.
Trump took 46% of the vote in Nevada, still less than half of Republican voters. Senator Marco Rubio took second with 24% in his strongest showing thus far, followed by Senator Ted Cruz with 22%. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich got less than 5% and 4% respectively.
Meanwhile CNN reports that the Rubio campaign is talking up the potential for a brokered GOP convention, if no candidate sews up enough delegates to cinch the nomination. That scenario would likely require trailing candidates to drop out, which thus far their campaigns have intended is not their intent.
The GOP establishment has not favored Trump, fearing his abrasive style, racist remarks and straying from conservative values on some issues could lead to a loss for Republicans in November. But his promise to "make America great again" has resonated with many voters disgruntled by the powers that be.
Earlier in the week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton eked out a 5 point lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada caucus. The two Democratic contenders have nearly equally split delegates acquired through the popular vote in the early primary and caucus states, though Clinton has a strong lead when super delegates (party officials) are counted, since the majority of super delegates thus far have pledged to support Clinton.
That could potentially change, since super delegates can shift their support if they perceive a different candidate has the most likely chance of beating the Republican nominee. Clinton has the most impressive resume and would be the first woman president if elected, but Sanders’ populist platform has been inspiring large crowds and strong voter turnout.