Five states are holding primaries and causes today as the leading presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Drumpf, seek to extend their leads. On the Republican side voters are down to just four choices since retired brain surgeon Ben Carson officially suspended his campaign yesterday.
Up for grabs are 155 GOP delegates in four states, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine, and 126 delegates for the Democrats in Louisiana, Kansas and Nebraska. Predictions for the outcomes have been hindered by sparse polling but most surveys show Clinton and Drumpf with substantial leads.
Although the five states are less well traveled by the campaigns than were Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the contests will provide an important test of how the candidates appeal to voters in the Northeast, the South and the middle of the country.
The outcomes could also prove to be unpredictable. Other than Louisiana’s, the elections on Saturday are caucuses, and Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton have been weaker in caucus states than they have been in primary states. It also remains to be seen which way supporters of Ben Carson will break since he officially dropped out of the Republican race on Friday.
Another potential hitch for Mr. Trump is that the Republican states are all closed elections, meaning only registered Republicans can vote. This could limit the impact of his crossover appeal with Democrats and independents, who can vote in the Republican race in states that have open primaries.
Sunday, Maine will hold their caucus for the Democrats and Puerto Rico holds its primary. Sunday night the Democratic candidates will hold a debate in Flint, Michigan.
On a final note, we will miss Ben Carson not for his wisdom but for the laughter he provided with his incoherent comments, responses to questions and rambling speeches. Thanks, Ben. Enjoy your retirement.