With Super Tuesday wins, Cruz hangs on to second-place status

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Ted Cruz, Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate, speaks at his watch party at the Red Neck Country Club in Stafford, Texas on Tuesday night.
Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

STAFFORD — Major media outlets called the Texas Republican primary for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) less than an hour after voting sites had closed throughout the state, a contest Cruz was expected to perform well in, according to polls leading up to the race. 

With 80 percent of all precincts reporting, Cruz was declared the winner with 44 percent of the vote to 27 for front-runner Donald Trump, earning Cruz 57 of the 155 Texas delegates available to the candidates, as of press time.

Then, towards 9 p.m., Cruz picked up the state of Oklahoma.

“Tonight, this campaign enters a new phase,” Cruz said. “We began with 17 Republican candidates, and after the first four states, the race narrowed to seven. Tonight was another decision, and the voters have spoken.” 

Cruz and many of his supporters filled the entirety of the Redneck Country Club in Stafford, Texas as they awaited results to come in, with outlets calling the race at around 8:55 p.m.

“We’re the ones who elected him to the Senate,” said Mary Feathers, a resident of Kingswood, Texas. “I think that speaks highly of him and his record to hopefully the rest of the nation.”

As of press time, Cruz had won Texas and Oklahoma, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won Minnesota — his first win of the campaign — and front-runner Donald Trump won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. At press time, Alaska results had not been decided. 

Last night marked the Super Tuesday primaries, when 11 primary Republican states — the largest amount in the primary season — voted all at once for their preferred candidate. The states of Colorado and Wyoming are Republican caucuses and do not take an official presidential preference vote. 

While most of the first four early states have only minimal delegate counts in relation to their small populations, the Super Tuesday states provide candidates with the largest amount of delegates to be allocated in one day.

Leading up to Super Tuesday, Trump was leading Cruz in almost every state besides the senator’s home state of Texas, while several states remained potentially competitive.

“I think there were not many surprises tonight,”  College Republicans President Madison Yandell said. “Based on what polling was showing, everything played out pretty suspectingly.”

Supporters of Cruz argue that if the low-polling candidates — neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) — drop out of the race, then they would open up support for Cruz.

Yandell said even if Carson and Kasich don’t drop out, Cruz’s next move could be to focus on voters who have favorable opinions of him but support one of the other candidates.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he centered his focus on Rubio supporters, trying to pick them up,” Yandell said.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swept every state besides Vermont, the home state of her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and in Colorado and Oklahoma, states that proved to be tighter races than many media outlets had predicted.

“Hillary Clinton had a big night tonight, and her campaign did everything it needed to do,” said Maliha Mazhar, University Democrats communications director.

This weekend, voters in both parties will head to the polls in Kansas, Louisiana and Maine. Only Republicans in Kentucky and Puerto Rico will also get their chance to vote this weekend, alongside Democrats in Nebraska.