The GOP “Super Tuesday” Caucus brought record-breaking crowds to over 4000 precinct caucus sites across Minnesota on March 1, 2016. Over 115,000 people showed up to cast their ballot and discuss the Party Platform with their fellow Republicans. Candidates running for state offices visited with caucus-attendees as they entered the buildings, or in some cases, candidates went room-to-room to introduce themselves to voters and potential delegates.
Caucus attendance was driven by the enthusiasm people had for the opportunity to cast a ballot for a presidential candidate: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio or Ben Carson. With 96% of the returns in, Marco Rubio won Minnesota with 36.5% of the votes. He was followed by Ted Cruz (29%), Donald Trump (21.3%), Ben Carson (7.3%), and John Kasich (5.8%).
Nationally, Minnesota was the only state Rubio (110 total delegates accrued) won out of the 11 states holding primaries or caucuses on March 1. Trump was the big winner of the day, adding 226 delegates from seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia) to the 93 delegates he had prior to Tuesday for a total of 316 delegates toward the GOP nomination (1,237 needed). Cruz won three states (Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska) and now has a total of 226 delegates. Neither Kasich or Carson won any of the states, although Kasich came in second to Trump in Vermont and gained six delegates there.
Texas was the prize Cruz most sought; adding Oklahoma and Alaska solidified his campaign moving forward. Ben Carson announced on March 2 that he was suspending his campaign after his poor showing on Super Tuesday. Even though Rubio has only won one state so far, he has vowed to continue his campaign, as has Kasich. Both Kasich and Rubio are looking forward to the March 15 primaries in their home states. How they do that day and in the states prior to March 15 will determine whether they continue the fight or suspend their campaigns as Carson did today.
Locally, caucuses saw high voter turn-out, with many locations reporting running low or completely out of ballots and other materials and having to make photocopies to accommodate the vast number of attendees. At the SD53 caucus, held at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, traffic jammed up on Bailey Road and Pioneer Drive as cars wove their way through the maze of roundabouts, filling the main parking lots, spilling over into auxiliary lots and with some people resorting to parking on the grass along the side of the road and in medians.
When asked, “Are you here for the caucus?” attendees walking into the school responded, “Yes!” and “Anyone but Clinton!” Bob Andrews, a BPOU volunteer, told Alpha News that he had never seen a caucus so well attended. At 7pm, he said that they hadn’t yet run out of materials, but that he already had to “break open the second packet.” Outside of each precinct meeting room, lines stretched into hallways as people waited for first-time caucus attendees to get registered. People seemed patient and engaged in the process, although at the end of the evening a few people were heard saying, “That was my first caucus ever, and probably my last.”
Follow this link to a district-by-district breakdown of Minnesota’s caucus results: Minnesota Presidential Caucus Results
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Updated: March 3, 2016 11:21am