We’re running out of names for these things, but let’s call today Pac 12 Tuesday. Not as powerful as the SEC Primary, but it will shape the playing field going forward as this presidential race continues its long march.
The big questions remain: Can the other Republicans deny Donald Trump a delegate majority before the convention, and can Bernie Sanders keep chugging as Hillary Clinton increasingly turns her rhetoric toward the general election.
Arizona (58 Republican delegates, 85 for Democrats)
There’s bad news here for the Establishment-slash-conservative intelligentsia, meeting in their smoke-free rooms to scheme how to deny The Donald the 1,237 delegates he needs before Cleveland: Arizona is winner-take-all, and Trump looks strong here. Among conservatives in this border state, immigration is a top concern – and no candidate has embraced the issue the way Trump has.
Among Democrats, this is a Latino-heavy state, which bodes well for Hillary Clinton. She will be looking to run up the score to further increase her near-insurmountable delegate lead, and has been running television ads in English and Spanish. But Sanders has been pounding the state hard in the final week, a sign that he sees potential here.
Polls: Fox 10/Opinion Savvy (March 20) Trump 46, Cruz 33, Kasich 17. Merrill Poll (March 7-11) — Trump 31, Ted Cruz 19, Rubio 10, John Kasich 10; Clinton 50, Sanders 26. MBQF (March 8) Trump 37, Cruz 23, Kasich 15, Rubio 12.
Candidate visits: Trump was in Tucson and Phoenix on Saturday. Cruz was in Phoenix on Friday and Peoria on Sunday.
Sanders was in Phoenix last Tuesday, Flagstaff on Thursday, Tucson on Friday, Phoenix again on Saturday and Flagstaff again on Monday. Clinton was in Phoenix on Monday. Bill Clinton was in Tucson and Phoenix on Sunday.
Links: Sanders is pledging big solar investment in Arizona, but a crackdown on coal hurts Navajo jobs in the state. (Arizona Republic)
A protester was punched at kicked as he was removed from a Trump rally in Tucson, while three protesters were arrested for blocking traffic on the way to a Phoenix Trump rally. (NBC News)
Bill Clinton brought former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – nearly murdered a few years ago, now a gun control advocate – as a surprise guest to a Phoenix rally, earning a big reception. (Arizona Republic)
Utah (40 Republican delegates, 37 for Democrats)
Cruz needs this one badly in order to slow down the Trump train. He has performed well in the West and in caucus states, and no less a Utah authority than Mitt Romney said he plans to caucus for Cruz as a way to stop Trump. Still, it’s likely Trump can acquire a few delegates by reaching 15 percent of the vote and inch his way to the magic number.
This is a must-win for Sanders on the Democratic side, as it’s a mostly white caucus state. He needs to win it big, too, in order to make up any delegate ground.
Candidate visits: Trump was in Salt Lake City on Friday. Cruz was in Salt Lake City and Provo on Saturday.
Sanders was in Salt Lake City on Friday and Monday.
Links: At his Salt Lake City rally, Trump asked of his antagonist Romney: “Are you sure he’s a Mormon?” (CNN)
Utah’s dislike of Trump is about far more than Mormonism. (The Washington Post)
Both Clinton and Sanders lead Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup – in perhaps the reddest state in the nation. (Deseret News)
Idaho (Democrats only, 27 delegates)
Like Utah, this is a mostly white caucus state where Sanders needs to run up the score to try to chip away at Clinton’s big advantage. The insurgent is the only one campaigning here.
Polls: Idaho Politics Weekly (Feb. 17-26) Sanders 47, Clinton 45.
Candidate visits: Sanders was in Idaho Falls on Friday and Boise on Monday.
Links: Sanders, the only candidate making a clear play for Idaho, drew about 3,200 in Idaho Falls and 7,000 in Boise. Not his usual numbers, but Idaho is a small and very conservative state. (Idaho Statesman)
Sanders and Clinton differ on nuclear energy – which employs thousands of Idahoans at a national laboratory. Sanders wants to get rid of it, Clinton wants to keep it as part of the energy mix. (Idaho Statesman)