By Sam Shikora (Political Editor).
The highly anticipated Super Saturday weekend left candidates who are not named Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with a new motivation to fight on through their campaigns and push toward the nomination this summer.
Just before the polls opened, neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced that he was terminating his campaign after disappointing results on Super Tuesday.
Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine held their primaries last weekend. The results were different than polls predicted. Trump won in Kentucky, while Ted Cruz won Kansas, and tied Trump with 18 delegates each in Maine.
Marco Rubio had a bittersweet weekend. He won all of Puerto Rico’s 23 delegates in its primary on Sunday, but finished in third place in some of the states.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gained ground this weekend as well. He won Kansas, Nebraska and Maine, and still gained a few delegates from Louisiana, even though Clinton was the decisive winner.
Because Sanders lacks superdelegates, it will take much more for him to take the lead by this summer, but last weekend was a good start.
While Trump did lose his sizable lead, he still remains in first place with 84 delegates over Cruz, 233 over Rubio and 347 over Kasich.
Clinton, like Trump, remains comfortably in the lead, at least for the time being. With 1,130 total delegates, Clinton has a 634-delegate cushion between herself and Sanders’ 499 delegates.
In the coming weeks, several important primaries will occur. On March 8th, Michigan and Mississippi will hold their primaries for both parties, and on March 15th, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio will be holding their primaries for both parties as well.
Hawaii and Idaho will have their GOP primaries on the 8th, and the District of Columbia will have its GOP primary on the 12th.
The next two weeks hold the potential to be a game changer for the GOP’s current hierarchy. Kasich will be looking for several make-or-break victories in Midwest states like Michigan, his home state of Ohio, and Illinois. He is currently polling second overall in Michigan and Ohio primary polls, and fourth in Illinois primary polls.
With many states north of the Mason-Dixon Line in the mix, Sanders has the opportunity to change, or at least better his campaign’s fate in the coming weeks.