Republicans badly split as Trump, Clinton seek Tuesday wins

VALDOSTA, Georgia -- On the eve of Tuesday's crucial multi-state primaries, a sharp new divide erupted between Republicans who pledge to fall in line behind Donald Trump if he wins their party's nomination and others who insist they can never back the bombastic billionaire.

See Full Article

The fissure could have major implications beyond the primaries, exposing the looming challenges in uniting the party, no matter who wins the nomination.

Trump has won three of four early nominating contests, roiling a party that had assumed his populist appeal with voters would fizzle. Instead, he's only grown stronger and appears to be in commanding position heading into Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the year.

Republicans will vote in 11 states on March 1, or Super Tuesday, with 595 delegates to the party's national nominating convention at stake. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the nomination at the July convention.

If Trump sweeps most of the states up for grabs Tuesday, he could amass a delegate lead that would be difficult for any rival to overcome. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is banking on a win in his home state to keep him in the race, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wants to stay close in the delegate count until the primary hits his home state on March 15.

Meanwhile, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is solidifying her lead. Like Trump, Clinton could begin putting her party's nomination out of reach for rival Bernie Sanders with a strong showing on Super Tuesday. Democrats will be voting in 11 states and American Samoa, with 865 delegates at stake.

After a decisive victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary, Clinton has shed nearly all references to her Democratic opponent, choosing instead to focus on Trump. Sanders, meanwhile, remains resolute in his message, offering his standard economic-focused campaign speech and looking past last weekend's defeat.

With Sanders lagging in delegates and likely to face more losses on Super Tuesday, Clinton's team is starting to become more concerned with the need to eventually unify the party. They are trying to avoid further alienating the passionate Sanders backers, whose support she will need to win a general election, and remind Democratic voters that she could face Trump -- a hated figure in the party.

Republicans face an even more daunting challenge in uniting a party roiled by the emergence of a political outsider as the front-runner for the party's presidential nomination.

Nebraska's Ben Sasse, a rising star among conservatives, became the first current senator to publicly raise the prospect of backing a third party option if Trump clinches the nomination. In a letter posted on Facebook late Sunday, Sasse urged Republicans to consider whether a party led by Trump would still represent their interests.

"If our party is no longer working for the things we believe in ... then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed," he wrote.

Other Republican leaders were less explicit, but sent similar messages on Monday, particularly in light of Trump's refusal to immediately disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's support.

Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 nominee, called that "disqualifying." And South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, campaigning in Atlanta alongside Rubio, said she would "not stop fighting a man who refuses to disavow the KKK." The Klan advocates white supremacy, and has sometimes used violence.

Trump said he had not understood the CNN interviewer who first raised the question about Duke's endorsement, and he did later repudiate him. "How many times do I have to continue to disavow people?" he said.

Several high-profile Republicans and conservative writers have embraced an anti-Trump social media campaign, using the Twitter hashtag "NeverTrump."

The Associated Press asked Republican senators and governors across the country if they would back Trump if he secured the nomination. Just under half of those who responded would not commit to backing him, foreshadowing a potentially extraordinary break this fall.

"I am increasingly concerned by Donald Trump's statements and behaviour, and I have serious concerns about his ability to win the general election and provide presidential leadership," Indiana Sen. Dan Coats said in a statement to AP.

Tensions boiled over during Trump's rally Monday in Radford, Virginia, where he was repeatedly disrupted by demonstrators, including 20 or more chanting "Black lives matter." At another point, he asked a protester, "Are you from Mexico?" after he was interrupted during remarks about immigration. He ordered several people to be removed, then cast himself as a unifying political force.

"Believe it or not, we're going to unify this country," he said.

Trump has received enthusiastic endorsements from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the most vocal opponents of immigration law changes on Capitol Hill. Several other party officials have said they would back the real estate mogul if he does become the nominee, though some say their support would be reluctant.

Party leaders are particularly worried about the ripple effect of a Trump nomination on other races for Congress and governor. Several Republican senators in Democratic-leaning states are vulnerable, and some Republican leaders fear that a Trump candidacy could put the Democrats back in control of the Senate.

------

Pace reported from Washington. AP writers Thomas Beaumont in Atlanta, Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, and Andrew Taylor, Donna Cassata and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Conservatives gather to see new leader crowned tonight

    Canada News CBC News
    Conservatives crown a new leader tonight to take the party into the next electoral battle against Justin Trudeau's Liberals in 2019. Staggered ballot-by-ballot results will be announced at the Toronto Congress Centre, site of the party's leadership convention, after a short tribute to outgoing interim leader Rona Ambrose at 5 p.m. Source
  • Quebec police search for suspect after toddler dies in hit-and-run

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT-CONSTANT, Que. -- Police are searching for a suspect after a two-year-old boy was killed in a hit-and-run south of Montreal Saturday morning. The incident occurred in Saint-Constant, on Montreal's South Shore. Police say they believe the child escaped his parents' attention and got out of the backyard where he'd been playing. Source
  • Terminally ill Calgary woman who had wedding after diagnosis dies: foundation

    Canada News CTV News
    When Micah Repato learned that her cancer diagnosis was terminal, she decided to forego palliative care and instead spend her last few weeks celebrating her life with loved ones. With the help of a Calgary non-profit, the 25-year-old marked her birthday and Christmas in the same week, with family and friends flying in from across North America to celebrate. Source
  • Jared Kushner wanted a back channel with Russia: reports

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and now top White House adviser Jared Kushner reportedly proposed setting up a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with a leading Russian diplomat. Source
  • Suspect in Portland stabbings ranted about Muslims: police

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- A man who police say fatally stabbed two people who tried to stop him from yelling anti-Islamic slurs on a Portland light-rail train spent time in prison for robbery and kidnapping charges years ago, according to court records and a defence attorney. Source
  • 35-year-old convicted kidnapper accused in 'hate speech' stabbing deaths

    World News Toronto Sun
    PORTLAND, Ore. — The 35-year-old man identified by authorities in the fatal stabbing of two people on a Portland light-rail train has a criminal record that includes stints in prison. Court records show that Jeremy Joseph Christian was convicted of robbery, kidnapping and a weapons charge in 2002. Source
  • Obama meets with Prince Harry, offers condolences to Manchester victims

    World News CTV News
    Former U.S. President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to victims of the Manchester bombing during a meeting with Prince Harry. The prince's Kensington Palace office tweeted a picture of Harry and Obama at the palace Saturday. Source
  • N.C. restaurant hit with US$308,000 water bill for 13 days of service

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two brothers launching a new restaurant in North Carolina found themselves deluged by a $308,000 water bill. But now their water worries are over. The Charlotte Observer reported that Faraz and Faisal Syed received the enormous bill in March, about two months before the Lazeez Mediterranean Grill had opened in that city. Source
  • Caroline Mulroney could continue political dynasty begun by her father

    Canada News CBC News
    The daughter of one of Canada's longest-serving Conservative prime ministers says she is considering a run for federal office. Caroline Mulroney was picked by the party to serve as a master of ceremonies for the leadership convention in Toronto this weekend. Source
  • Calgary man who contracted flesh eating disease overseas now recovering at home

    Canada News CTV News
    *Warning: Graphic images shown in the video may be disturbing to some A Calgary man who contracted flesh-eating disease while on vacation has returned home and is recovering after a harrowing medical ordeal overseas. Source