Ben Carson Archives - Page 3 of 27 - SaintPetersBlog

New poll has Marco Rubio within striking distance of Donald Trump in Florida

Although Marco Rubio and his camp continue to say that he will Florida in the winner-take-all GOP presidential primary on March 15, there’s been little statistical evidence to date indicating that might be possible.

Until now.

A poll taken by the Tarrance group released Saturday shows Donald Trump continuing to lead in Florida, but only by five percentage points over Rubio, 35.4 percent to 30.3 percent.

Ted Cruz is a distant third at 15.5 percent, and John Kasich is at 8.5 percent.

Ben Carson, who dropped out of the race officially on Friday, is at 4.6 percent.

Who gets those Carson voters is crucial, obviously.

The Tarrance group asked voters to list their top three choices. Overall, Rubio received a combined 66.6 percent of combined 1st, 2nd and 3rd ballots. Trump was next with 54.7 percent, Cruz was at 52.7 percent and Kasich fourth with 40.8 percent.

The poll indicates that there’s certainly time for Rubio to catch up to Trump. While over 56 percent of those polled have already decided on their candidate, 23.5 percent say they are still looking at several candidates.

The survey also gives credence to those who claim that Trump’s appeal, while more than any other Republican running this year, caps at below 40 percent. When asked if they would never vote for Trump, 32.4 percent agreed with that statement, with 29.4 percent saying they “strongly” held that opinion.

The poll contains the results of a telephone survey of 800 registered “likely” Republican primary voters in the state of Florida. Responses to this survey were gathered February 29-March 2, 2016.

The Our Principles PAC commissioned the poll, a Super PAC created to bring down Donald Trump. It was founded Katie Packer, a veteran Republican strategist who served as deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Last week the group hired former Jeb Bush spokesman Tim Miller to be their communications adviser.

Ben Carson spent heavy on consultants, light on 2016 campaigning

Ben Carson ran for president, and his consultants won.

The political newcomer who said this week he sees “no path” to the Republican nomination raised more money than any other GOP contender, $58 million since he began his bid last May.

But Carson’s campaign burned through much more of that money on fundraising and consultants than on mass media advertising, on-the-ground employees and other things that could have swayed voters, a review of his campaign finance reports found.

Carson’s campaign is an extreme example of the big-money business of presidential politics. The candidate himself, a soft-spoken retired Baltimore neurosurgeon, has wondered aloud whether his campaign aides were taking advantage of him.
He employed “people who didn’t really seem to understand finances,” Carson said in a CNN interview last week. And then he added: “Or maybe they did. Maybe they were doing it on purpose.”

Some people who worked with Carson’s presidential campaign are positioned to continue profiting from his elevated profile even after he officially ends his bid.

All told, the Carson campaign turned over at least one-quarter of the money it raised — $16 million — to fundraising and marketing firms owned by a pair of his top consultants, Mike Murray and Ken Dawson.

By contrast, the Carson campaign’s payroll for nine months cost less than $700,000, finance documents show, and the campaign spent less than $600,000 on television and radio advertising during the month that voting has taken place, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Murray has been a senior adviser to the campaign, owns TMA Direct and is managing partner of Precision Data Management, firms that provide fundraising services for direct mail and email to voters and broker lists of would-be supporters.

Dawson has been Carson’s unofficial chief marketing officer and owner of Eleventy Marketing. That company uses Facebook, Twitter and other social media to place digital advertising and raise money for its clients.

Murray and Dawson say the payments to their firms do not give a full picture of all the work they did — transforming a candidate with 50 percent name recognition among likely Republican voters into one nearly universally known now.

“We had the task of building the Carson brand along with raising money,” Murray said. “Everything we did netted money.”

Payments to TMA and other firms did not all go into the consultants’ pockets, he said. Much of it paid for postage, printing and other costs associated with fundraising. Dawson also said much of the $10 million paid to his company went right back out to pay for digital advertising and social media promotion.

“It allowed us to connect directly to people and to help identify people the message was resonating with,” Dawson said, noting that his company’s efforts “garnered the revenue that drove the apparatus.”

He said every payment to Eleventy was approved by Carson’s campaign managers and audited by campaign staff.

Carson plans to lay out his next moves in a speech Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Maryland. He has vowed to continue his “grassroots movement,” which includes his 700,000 campaign donors, the majority of whom gave $200 or less.

That could mean a return to the American Legacy Political Action Committee, a group that already has substantial crossover with the Carson campaign; in fact, Murray is its founder. Before beginning his presidential bid, Carson was the face of an American Legacy PAC project on health care.

Carson’s longtime confidant and off-the-books campaign guru, Armstrong Williams, took over Carson’s American Legacy PAC chairmanship and said he would encourage him to come back to the group, which he called a “natural” move.

“It gives him a platform,” Williams said. “Why start something new when you already have something in place?”

American Legacy PAC appears to do little more than raise money to pay people raising money.

Despite its mission of helping conservative candidates, the group reported giving less than 3 percent of the $10 million it raised in the past five years to political candidates and political committees, a review of Federal Election Commission reports shows.

Murray said American Legacy’s impact on politics isn’t fully reflected in its FEC filings, in part because the group encourages donors to give directly to candidates it supports. He said those candidates have netted “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” which American Legacy PAC has tracked through software.

The cost of all that fundraising is laid out in FEC documents.

American Legacy PAC has paid Williams’ production company more than $170,000 in the past two years. American Legacy PAC also paid Murray’s companies nearly $400,000 since its establishment in 2010. And it paid Dawson’s Eleventy about $30,000, which he said paid for building a website.

More than half of American Legacy PAC’s budget was eaten up by the telemarketing company Infocision. Carson’s campaign also paid the company almost $5 million.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Viewer’s Guide: GOP debate about Donald Trump vs. everyone else

And then there were four.

Ben Carson‘s departure from the GOP presidential race means the quartet of remaining Republicans on the debate stage Thursday night get more time for attacks as Donald Trump treads a path to the GOP nomination and his three rivals try to trip him up. Cheered on by many Republican leaders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are racing the primary clock to March 15, likely their last chance to stop Trump in a series of winner-take-all contests.

Some things to watch Thursday night as the candidates meet at 9 p.m. EST for the Fox News Channel debate in Detroit:

HE WHO WAS NOT NAMED

Love him or loathe him, Trump has taught the poohbahs of the Republican Party what a power grab really is — and he’s done it by winning over large swaths of the GOP’s own core supporters far from Washington. His wobbling over whether to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke finally gave the Republican leaders of Congress a way to go after the billionaire publicly — without uttering Trump’s name. Trump responded by saying House Speaker Paul Ryan would have to get along with a President Trump or pay some sort of “big price.” On the eve of the debate, Ryan’s office confirmed that Trump’s campaign had contacted the speaker’s staff in a first sign of outreach. Notably, Trump has started talking about unifying the GOP. Look for Trump to be asked about the existential rift in the party and how he expects to govern.

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RUBIO, RUDE? TRUMP, TOO?

The Florida senator who once insisted on staying above the scuffling has leapt right into it, emulating Trump’s schoolyard-taunting style.

At campaign events in the past week, Rubio made sometimes crude jokes about everything from Trump’s tan to the size of his hands — he even suggested that the billionaire wet his pants at the last debate. Look for whether a newly confident Rubio, emboldened by his first primary win in Minnesota Tuesday, keeps it up or takes a more statesmanlike approach.

And what to expect from Trump? “I can’t act overly presidential because I’m going to have people attacking from every side. A very good man, Ben Carson’s not there anymore, so now we’re going to have more time for the fighting,” he said. “When people are hitting you from different angles, from all different angles, unfortunately you have to hit back. I would have a very, very presidential demeanor when I win, but until such time, you have to hit back,” he told NBC on Thursday.

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CRUZ’S STAND

Thanks to Rubio’s win Tuesday, Cruz can no longer say he’s the only Republican who has shown he can beat Trump. But he won three states on Super Tuesday — Alaska, Oklahoma and his home state of Texas. And the delegate math shows that Cruz is emerging as the candidate who might stop Trump. Look for some confidence from Cruz, because on Super Tuesday alone he came close to Trump. For the night, Trump won at least 237 delegates and Cruz won at least 209. Rubio was a distant third with at least 94.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who a week earlier joked at a dinner about killing Cruz, acknowledged on CBS that the Texas senator might be the party’s best hope to beat Trump.

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KASICH, STILL

The debate setting is likely most helpful to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is looking for a strong showing in Michigan in the state’s March 8 contest, to survive.

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FOX AND TRUMP, FRENEMIES

Trump has uttered barely a peep about the fact that Fox News Channel is hosting the debate, and that his sometime-nemesis Megyn Kelly, is one of the moderators.

This is a marked change from the upheaval that led to Trump boycotting Fox’s debate just before the leadoff Iowa caucuses. Trump had demanded that Kelly be removed; Fox refused and Trump headed a few miles away to host his own event.

He later said that could have been one of the reasons he lost Iowa to Cruz.

Trump has not tweeted about Kelly in weeks. In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Kelly said she thinks Trump has more confidence now.

“He knows he can handle me. He can handle any interviewer,” she said.

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TRUMP UNIVERSITY

How good is a degree from Trump University? “Worthless” — as are his promises — according to former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney will brand the billionaire businessman as “a phony, a fraud” in a Salt Lake City speech on Thursday, as party of a push by GOP establishment figures to paint the billionaire as unfit to represent the party. Trump should have a few things to say about it. He already started slugging on Thursday morning, saying that Romney “begged” him for his endorsement four years ago, and called him a “failed candidate.”

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REMEMBER BEN CARSON?

Kelly said he wouldn’t have gotten much attention even if he had stuck around for the debate. Fox will concentrate its questions on Trump, Cruz and Marco Rubio — making for potentially awkward moments for Kasich.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

After Super Tuesday, cold hard delegate math

Presidential candidates will wake up Wednesday morning to the cold, hard truth of delegate math. It might give the front-runners some breathing room, but for the rest of the field, the truth may hurt.

What to watch for on the day after Super Tuesday doles out a quarter of all the delegates at stake in the GOP and Democratic nominating contests:

THE TALLY: With 12 states awarding delegates, see how the delegate totals stack up when the dust settles.

With some delegates still to be allocated, Donald Trump had won at least 192 Super Tuesday delegates and Ted Cruz at least 132. Marco Rubio had won at least 66 delegates, John Kasich 19 and Ben Carson three. There were 595 GOP delegates at stake in 11 states.

Overall, Trump led with 274 delegates, Cruz 149, Rubio 82. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

On the Democratic side, Clinton was assured of winning at least 457 of the 865 delegates at stake on Super Tuesday. Sanders was sure to get at least 286. Including superdelegates, Clinton had at least 1,005 delegates. Sanders had at least 373. It takes 2,383 Democratic delegates to win.

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Watch how front-runners Clinton and Trump position themselves going forward. Do they focus more on their primary election rivals or pivot toward an anticipated general election matchup? Trump said Tuesday night that if Clinton hadn’t straightened out Washington by now “she isn’t going to straighten it out in the next four years.” Clinton, in turn, criticized what she called the angry, divisive rhetoric from the Republican front-runner, though she did not name him.

THE B-WORD: Trump’s strong showing could generate fresh talk about the possibility of a brokered convention from Republicans who just can’t get on board with the idea of Trump as the eventual GOP nominee.

RUBIO’S ROAD: Rubio’s itinerary reflects his priorities. He campaigns Wednesday in Michigan, which votes March 8. And he’s already putting big effort into his home state of Florida, which votes with a number of winner-take-all-delegates states on March 15. Early voting already has started in Florida, and Rubio put his focus there on Tuesday night, saying, “two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear.”

CRUZ’S COURSE: Watch for a more assertive Cruz, rejuvenated by victories in his home state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma. On Tuesday night, he urged the other GOP candidates to “prayerfully consider coming together” and uniting against Trump. Translation: Get out of the race.

GOP SOUL-SEARCHING: Keep an eye on how the GOP establishment does — or doesn’t — reconcile itself to Trump. In the run-up to Tuesday’s mega-round of voting, some establishment figures were vowing they’d never, ever support Trump; others were reluctantly pledging to fall in line behind the eventual nominee, whoever it is.

AM NOT, DID TOO: The rhetoric in the GOP race took a turn for the worse before Super Tuesday, featuring a series of taunts between Trump and Rubio about potential pants-wetting, bad spray tans and overactive sweat glands. Do the candidates elevate the conversation once Tuesday’s big vote is past?

SANDERS’ STAND: Sanders, looking for more places to shine after wins in Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota and his home state of Vermont, was ready to campaign Wednesday in Maine and Michigan, where he hopes his populist message will resonate with union and blue-collar voters. And his campaign strategists scheduled a “path forward” breakfast to lay out his intended route to the nomination.

ENTHUSIASM GAP? Check out final turnout figures from Tuesday. The first two primary states to vote — New Hampshire and South Carolina — turned out record numbers of Republican, but not Democratic, voters. If that trend continues, it could have implications for the general election.

AIR WARS: Expect to see lots of Trump thumping in the next two weeks. Ahead of Super Tuesday, anti-Trump ads outnumbered pro-Trump commercials nearly 3-to-1. That ratio is likely to grow. Three outside groups, Our Principles, American Future Fund and Club for Growth, have laid plans for millions of dollars in new Trump attack ads. Conservative Solutions, a super political action committee backing Rubio — and blasting Trump — has reserved $6 million of ad time for in the soon-to-vote states of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Florida. On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders both continue their campaign advertising. From the looks of the ad reservations, Sanders is betting big on Michigan, spending more than two-thirds of future ad money there,

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cemented as 2016 leaders

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, emboldened by commanding victories Tuesday across large swaths of the country, are beginning to focus on each other in the race for the White House.

Clinton previewed a “love and kindness” message while Trump traded his typical rollicking rallies for a sober media conference where he pressed his case that Clinton is a proven failure as a longtime politician.

Both spoke from Florida, where the general election is often won or lost. That wasn’t one of the dozen states that weighed in on a day known as Super Tuesday because it’s the busiest of the 2016 primary season.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state, Oklahoma and Alaska, buttressing his out-of-the-gate win in the Iowa caucuses a month ago, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio notched his first victory, in Minnesota.
“Our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten, that can beat, and that will beat Donald Trump,” Cruz thundered to supporters gathered at the wood-paneled Redneck Country Club in Stafford, Texas.

Still, he’d been counting on more appeal in the Southern states and among evangelical Christian voters. Trump, who dubs his surging campaign the “Trump Train,” has derailed those plans.

Rubio and the other Republicans still in the race, John Kasich and Ben Carson, struggled Tuesday to convey optimism even as they vowed to fight on.

Simple math reinforces a bind for the Republicans who reject Trump, as the brash billionaire businessman carried seven states and continues to barrel toward the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination.

Trump won at least 203 delegates Tuesday. Cruz collected at least 144 delegates and Rubio picked up at least 71. Overall, Trump leads with 285 delegates; Cruz has 161, Rubio has 87, Kasich has 25 and Carson has eight. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.

Increasingly, leading Republicans talk of a contested convention in July as their best remaining option for stopping Trump, whose divisive rhetoric about immigrants and ethnic and religious groups has some fearing a GOP wipeout in November.

Like Cruz, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was victorious in his home state.

He also picked up victories in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado, and he assured supporters he’d take his fight to “every one” of the remaining contests. With a staggering $42 million raised in February alone, Sanders has the campaign cash to do just that — though Clinton is well on her way to the 2,383 delegates needed on the Democratic side.

Tuesday’s results left little doubt as to the front-runners in the race.

Clinton collected wins in seven states, and Trump swept up victories in seven, including Virginia, another important general election battleground.

She is assured of winning at least 457 of the 865 delegates at stake Tuesday. Sanders will gain at least 286. When including party leaders, Clinton has at least 1,005 delegates, and Sanders has at least 373.

Clinton held on to older voters and strongly prevailed among Hispanics and African-Americans, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research. Trump, a political newcomer, pulled in two-thirds of voters looking to install an outsider in the White House, while GOP voters seeking an experienced candidate were split between Rubio and Cruz, both first-term senators.

Speaking from his gold-flecked Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump asserted that his candidacy is a “movement” and that he is expanding the Republican Party even as many of its leaders have distanced themselves from him.

A moment after Trump professed to have good relationships with his party’s elite; he issued a warning to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had declared earlier Tuesday that “this party does not prey on people’s prejudices.” Trump said that if the two don’t get along, Ryan is “going to have to pay a big price.”

One way Trump claimed he would unify the party was by training his fire on Clinton.

He said she should be disqualified from even running for office because she broke from government protocol by using a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Clinton tried to turn Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan on its head, saying the country instead must be made “whole again.”

“What we need in America today is more love and kindness,” she said. “Instead of building walls, we’re going to break down barriers and build ladders of opportunity and empowerment.”

Trump ridiculed her comments. “She’s been there for so long,” he said. “If she hasn’t straightened it out by now, she’s not going to straighten it out in the next four years.”

Rubio said his supporters would never rally around Trump. He and Kasich showed little sign of relenting, especially with their home states of Florida and Ohio voting on March 15.

“We are so excited about what lies ahead for our campaign,” Rubio said at his Tuesday night rally in Miami, his hometown. “You see, just five days ago we began to unmask the true nature of the front-runner in this race.”

He portrayed his attacks on Trump as having an impact already, though that wasn’t evident in Super Tuesday’s results.

“Two weeks from tonight right here in Florida,” Rubio said, “we are going to send a message loud and clear: The party of Lincoln and Reagan will never be held by a con artist.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

PPP poll: Donald Trump holds 20-point lead over Marco Rubio in Florida

Donald Trump is dominating Marco Rubio in a new poll of likely Republican Florida primary voters.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday night, Trump holds a 20-point lead over Rubio. Trump leads the Republican pack with 45 percent in the Sunshine State, followed by Rubio at 25 percent. Ted Cruz is at 10 percent, followed by John Kasich at 8 percent and Ben Carson at 5 percent.

Trump dominates in a head-to-head match up with Rubio. In a two-man race, Trump leads Rubio 52 percent to 38 percent. Rubio would win over voters who supported Cruz, Kasich and Carson; but Trump would maintain a double-digit win over Rubio.

Florida has the most delegates at stake in the March 15 winner-take-all primary. Rubio has said several times he thinks he can win his home state. During an appearance on the Today Show on Friday morning, he said: “We are going to win Florida.”

“We’re not behind by double digits in Florida. Those polls that they’re doing, that you’re citing are wrong. Not only do we have our own numbers, but I know my state,” he told Today Show hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. “We’re going to win Florida, and we’re going to do well on Super Tuesday.”

The Public Policy Polling survey comes one day after two Florida polls showed Rubio trailed Trump in the Sunshine State. A Quinnipiac University Poll showed Trump with a double-digit lead over the Florida senator; while an Associated Industries of Florida survey showed a much narrower margin between the two men.

There may be room for movement in the polls. Thirty-six percent of respondents said it was possible they would change their mind before the March 15 primary.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 464 likely Republican primary voters in Florida on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. The Republican poll has a margin of error of 4.6 percent.

AIF poll shows Donald Trump leads Marco Rubio by small margin

Don’t call Florida for Donald Trump quite yet.

Trump continues to lead in Florida, but that margin is shrinking, according to a new Associated Industries of Florida survey of likely Republican primary voters. Trump leads the GOP field with 34 percent, followed by Marco Rubio with 27 percent. Ted Cruz rounds out the Top 3 with 17 percent.

The survey found Rubio is the most well liked among the top three Republican hopefuls. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Rubio. Of those, 20 percent stated that they had a very favorable opinion of the Florida senator. Nine percent of respondents said they had a very unfavorable opinion of Rubio.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Trump; while 51 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Cruz.

That margin separating Trump and Rubio paints a much different picture of the race from the Quinnipiac University Poll released earlier Thursday. In that survey, Trump leads the Republican pack with 44 percent compared to Rubio’s 28 percent.

On Wednesday, Rubio told CBS This Morning that he will “win in Florida.”

Florida’s winner-take-all primary is on March 15. Millions of Floridians requested vote-by-mail ballots, and thousands of votes have already been cast.

The poll found Ben Carson and John Kasich tied with 5 percent support. It also found 12 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The Associated Industries of Florida poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday evening. The poll surveyed 600 likely Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Donald Trump 44%, Marco Rubo 28%, according to Quinnipiac poll of Florida GOP primary

Donald Trump is clobbering Marco Rubio in Florida, according to a new poll of likely Republican voters.

A Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday showed Trump has a commanding lead over Florida’s native son. The survey showed Trump led the GOP field with 44 percent of the vote, followed by Rubio with 28 percent of the ballot.

On Wednesday, Rubio told CBS This Morning anchors he believed he could win his home state.

“Well, we’ll win in Florida now that Gov. Bush is no longer in the race,” the Florida senator told CBS News’ Gayle King. “Him and I split a lot of the support in Florida, so that will help us.”

Jeb Bush suspended his campaign on Saturday after a poor showing in three early primary states. In the days since his announcement, many of his Florida supporters have thrown their support behind Rubio.

“Florida is the single biggest prize of the primary season because it is the largest state to allocate delegates on a winner-take-all basis. If Sen. Rubio can’t win in his own home state, it is difficult to see how he can win elsewhere,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll in a statement Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 705 likely Florida Republican primary voters from Feb. 21 through Feb. 24. It has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

The poll Floridians want the Republican nominee to be a strong leader, with 32 percent of respondents saying that was the most important quality; while 23 percent said honesty.

Among likely Republican primary voters in the Sunshine State who wanted a candidate with strong leadership qualities, 66 percent picked Trump; while 16 percent picked Rubio. The men are tied at 30 percent among voters who wanted a candidate who is honest.

The poll found 30 percent of likely Republican primary voters who said they supported a candidate said they might change their mind before the March 15 election.

The poll could signal trouble for Rubio. The Florida senator hasn’t won a nominating contest yet, placing second in the South Carolina primary and the Nevada caucus. He came in third in Iowa; and came in fifth in New Hampshire.

The Quinnipiac University survey is the first poll of Florida primary voters in about a month, and all of the recent polls showed Trump with a commanding lead. The new poll found Ted Cruz was in third place with 12 percent, followed by John Kasich at 7 percent and Ben Carson at 4 percent.

Mitch Perry Report for 2.22.16 — Marco Rubio’s narrow pathway

Sorry, GOP Establishment, but Ben Carson and John Kasich aren’t shutting down their campaigns.

Those rallying around Marco Rubio Monday morning are hoping they would, two days after Donald Trump‘s decisive victory Saturday night in South Carolina forced Jeb Bush out of the race.

Rubio says it’s a three-man race between himself, Trump and Ted Cruz, but he needs to come up with victories soon if he’s going to be a serious challenger to the New York City business mogul.

Kasich has no path to the nomination, says Terry Sullivan, Rubio’s campaign manager. In a memo distributed Sunday, Sullivan wrote, “The path for winning the nomination for John Kasich looks unrealistic given the threshold requirements in most states. With the current state of the race, Kasich is currently not in contention for 81.7 percent of the delegates awarded during the week of March 1st. He hasn’t shown any ability to appeal to voters outside the very small moderate/liberal subset of the Republican primary electorate. He has fewer resources, lower name ID, and less national infrastructure than Jeb Bush, who last night determined there was no path to the nomination.”

Perhaps true, but Kasich actually may have a shot at winning a state or two (obviously Ohio, on March 15), and he presents a distinct brand of Republican leadership that is appealing to center-right voters, those who supported Bush and/or Chris Christie.

Upshot? He ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Actually, Kasich was back in his home state on Sunday to sign a bill prohibiting Ohio from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions, blocking government funds to Planned Parenthood. According to CNN, Planned Parenthood isn’t explicitly named in the legislation, but the law will prevent more than $1 million in funding from the state health department from going to the nonprofit to fund programs such as HIV testing, health screenings and prevention of violence against women

Kasich also received the backing Sunday of billionaire financier Stanley F. Druckenmiller. So, no, Kasich isn’t departing anytime soon.

And Carson?

Despite his disappointing last place finish in the Palmetto State, the former pediatric surgeon somewhat incredulously told his supporters that “this is only the beginning.”

Say what?

Rubio can only win if the other guys get out. But they’re not. When asked about that at one point his advisers were saying that South Carolina would be the place where he would get his first victory, he said that Trump’s success is because there are so many candidates still in the race, versus the one-on-one matchup in the Democratic primary.

True. But it’s not going to change in the next few weeks, meaning Marco’s chances are very, very slim at this point. However, he is still in it right now.

In other news …

Jeb Bush’s failure this year on the campaign trail marks him as the fourth former Florida governor to strike out when attempting to become president.

• • •

If you like your politics with some controversy, then you have to admit that Alan Grayson did not disappoint at his appearance at the Tiger Bay Club in Tampa on Friday afternoon.

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Tampa’s move to decriminalize possession of weed seems to have freaked out the editorial board over at The Tampa Tribune.

Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz jostle to claim ‘alternative-to-Donald Trump’ vote

Republicans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz battled to emerge as the true anti-Trump on Sunday as the billionaire businessman took an ever-so-brief break from his trademark braggadocio to say his drive for the GOP nomination isn’t unstoppable — yet.

Fresh off a commanding victory in South Carolina, Donald Trump declined to say the nomination was his to lose. But he quickly went on to declare, “I’m really on my way.” Soon enough, in a television interview, he was toting up electoral math all the way through Election Day and concluding, “I’m going to win.”

The candidates’ diverging flight plans demonstrated how the campaign spreads out and speeds up now. Nevada’s GOP caucuses are Tuesday, and then a dozen states vote in the March 1 Super Tuesday bonanza.

Trump was in Georgia exulting over his latest victory, Cruz headed for Nevada, and Rubio embarked on a Tennessee-Arkansas-Nevada trifecta.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton savored her weekend win in the Nevada caucuses as Bernie Sanders acknowledged that while his insurgent campaign has made strides, “at the end of the day … you need delegates.” He looked past Tuesday’s Democratic primary in South Carolina to list Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Oklahoma as places where he has a “good shot” to do well.

Rubio and Cruz used the Sunday morning news shows to spin rosy-road-forward scenarios after complete but unofficial returns in South Carolina put Trump way up top, with Rubio squeaking past Cruz for second. But with roughly 70 percent of Republicans in national polls declining to back Trump, Cruz and Rubio tried to cast themselves as the one candidate around whom what Rubio calls the “alternative-to-Donald-Trump vote” can coalesce.

Rubio also took an aggressive run at Trump, faulting him for a lack of specifics on policy.

“If you’re running for president of the United States, you can’t just tell people you’re going to make America great again,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

At a later rally in Franklin, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb, Rubio took note of the smaller GOP field after Jeb Bush‘s departure from the race, and celebrated his biggest crowd of the campaign, estimated at more than 3,000 people. Rubio avoided criticizing his GOP rivals, instead highlighting his efforts to help middle-class families.

Cruz, for his part, stressed his conservative bona fides and said he was the lone “strong conservative in this race who can win. We see conservatives continuing to unite behind our campaign,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

With Bush gone from the race, Rubio was hoping to pick off past donors to the Bush campaign and looking to benefit as well from a cessation in the millions of dollars in negative ads run by the Bush campaign and its allies.

Rubio also suggested it was only a matter of time before John Kasich and Ben Carson folded as well. He hinted it would be better to get that winnowing over with, saying, “the sooner we can coalesce, the better we’re going to be as a party in general.”

Not so fast, Kasich countered. “We’re getting big crowds everywhere we go,” the Ohio governor insisted, listing Vermont, Massachusetts and Virginia as places he can shine.

Cruz tried to brush right past his apparent third-place finish in South Carolina and instead hark back to his victory over Trump in leadoff Iowa.

“It is becoming clearer and clearer that we are the one campaign who can beat Donald Trump,” Cruz told reporters before a campaign stop in rural Nevada.

The Texas senator said his path to victory calls for a strong showing on Super Tuesday, and that Texas was “clearly the crown jewel” of that day.

Rubio, a Florida senator, highlighted the big delegate take available in the five-state round of voting on March 15, which includes his home state. He noted that round offers victors a “winner-take-all” share of delegates rather a proportional share.

Cruz scoffed at Rubio’s strategy, saying: “They’re trying to wait until March 15 to win a state.”

Trump suddenly had nice things to say about Bush, the candidate he had hammered so relentlessly when they were rivals. As for Rubio, Trump told “Fox News Sunday” that “I start off liking everybody. Then, all of a sudden, they become mortal enemies.”

At a rowdy Atlanta rally, Trump crowed over his big South Carolina win, saying “we’re just doing one after another.” Spitting out the superlatives, he called his sweep of all 50 delegates there “amazing,” ”beautiful,” ”conclusive” and “very, very decisive.”

Clinton was happy with her Nevada win but acknowledged she has work to do in persuading voters that she has their best interests at heart.

“I think there’s an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people’s minds and that is, you know, is she in it for us or is she in it for herself?” Clinton said on CNN. “I think that is a question that people are trying to sort through.”

Working to increase his support among black voters, Sanders visited a Baptist church luncheon following services in West Columbia, South Carolina, and talked up the country’s economic recovery under President Barack Obama.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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