The counting went deep into the night to produce a winner in the Missouri Republican Primary Tuesday. The lead swung back and forth for hours until early this morning when businessman Donald Trump pulled ahead of Texas Senator Ted Cruz for good. Trump’s win was all about the evangelical vote, which went almost two to one for Trump versus Cruz.
In the final results, Donald Trump wins with 382,093 votes, or 40.8%, followed in second place with the total for Cruz at 380,367 votes or 40.6% of the total votes cast. The difference was in additional votes that Trump received in the city of St. Louis, Missouri proper. With the victory, Trump has proven that he can win the evangelical and blue collar voters that Ronald Reagan won in Missouri during Reagan’s 1984 path to the presidency.
Trump’s latest win gives him more than half of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican party nomination, and he has won more than twice the number of states that Cruz has won. While Cruz put together a great campaign in Missouri, in the end, it was almost impossible to ignore the strength of the blue collar voters that went streaming over to Trump’s side.
In third place was the winner of the Ohio primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich, who received a total of 92,553, or just under 10% of the total votes cast. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign yesterday, received 57,006 votes, or slightly more than 6% of the total, with a campaign that was already in turmoil, well before his stunning loss in Florida.
Trump has the power to win any state when blue collar voters come to his camp. His strength among evangelical voters in Missouri surely left Cruz stunned, seeing as in his speech last night, Cruz directed almost half of his comments directly towards any evangelical voter who might be tuning in.
Trump’s victory in Missouri threw cold water on a surging Cruz, leaving him with a few delegates, but no momentum, as Cruz managed to win a total of zero states on Tuesday. Trump, for his part, was the victor in four out of the five states that voted on March 15, 2016. As Kasich has chosen to stay in the race, surely bolstered by his victory in his home state of Ohio, he will continue to siphon votes from Cruz, which gives Donald Trump even more confidence about his path to the Republican presidential nomination.
While Trump won over men by a handy margin, it is Cruz that won the vote from women. White collar workers gravitated to Cruz, but is was Trump that won over the hard to get and hard to fight for blue collar voters.
Donald Trump has a saying for a night like this one; “just win”. That is exactly what Trump did in Missouri.