Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and billionaire Donald Trump have been projected as the winners of their parties’ presidential primaries in Mississippi, according to exit polls and early returns.
In the Democratic race, Clinton was projected as the winner in Mississippi by the Associated Press shortly after the state’s polls closed, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
In the Republican race, Exit polls showed 49 percent of the voters supported Trump, with Sen. Ted Cruz getting 36 percent of the vote. A winner, however, has not been projected in that race by the AP.
Clinton has now won 12 states in this Democratic primary, including eight states from the old Confederacy, where black voters are a major force in any Democratic race.
African Americans accounted for roughly 6 in 10 voters in Mississippi’s Democratic primary, which would mark a record high if it holds according to preliminary exit polling reported by ABC News. Black voters went strongly against Clinton in 2008, when she was defeated in the Democratic primary by then-Sen. Barack Obama. But, in this election, they have helped Clinton swamp Sanders in a series of southern states. In Mississippi, Clinton was hoping that black voters could give her a lopsided victory, as well as the bulk of the state’s 36 Democratic delegates.
Clinton won nearly nine out of 10 black voters in Mississippi, according to exit polls reported by ABC News. Clinton also won white Democrats in Mississippi, however, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.
Sanders (I-Vt.) has won eight states, but – because his victories were in smaller states, and because Clinton has dominated among “super delegates” that make up their own minds – Sanders is still far behind in the race for delegates to the Democratic convention.
In the Republican race, a Trump victory in Mississippi would put his win total at 13. Trump has dominated in the deep South, where he has won a solid block of states that stretches from Louisiana and Arkansas in the West to South Carolina in the East. His rivals have won eight states between them.
The race for delegates is far closer among Republicans than among Democrats, however, because the states that have voted so far have distributed their delegates proportionally – so the second- and third-place candidates still often come away with something. Republicans also have no “superdelegates,” who aren’t won in a vote. Because Tuesday’s Republican primaries are also in “proportional” states, their outcomes are unlikely to make a significant shift in the race for delegates, in which Trump holds a lead.
The majority of polls have also closed in Michigan, where Trump and Clinton also lead in pre-election polls. Some results will be reported in the next hour, but no winners will be projected until the last polls – in a few counties along the Wisconsin border – close at 9 p.m. Eastern.
In the earliest results from Michigan, Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were in a very tight race, with Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) trailing far behind.
Republicans are also voting in Idaho and Hawaii on Tuesday, but Democrats are not. The results of those GOP contests will not be known for several more hours.
For Trump, victories in Michigan and Mississippi would not be decisive. He is still a long way from winning a majority of GOP convention delegates. Because Michigan and Mississippi will split their delegates among several candidates, his lead is not likely to grow by much on Tuesday.
But it would still be a key psychological victory for Trump, the now-embattled front-runner. Wins in these states would show that — despite furious attacks by rival candidates, a blitz of anti-Trump TV ads, and a highly unusual rebuke from his own party’s most recent presidential nominee — Trump can still win.
(C) 2016 The Washington Post