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Wed May 25 03:28:20 SAST 2016

Trump keeps trucking

©The Sunday Telegraph | 07 March, 2016 00:31
"Thank you to Louisiana, and thank you to Kentucky," Trump said in Florida. File photo

Grassroots Republican supporters are promising a full-scale rebellion if party grandees act to prevent Donald Trump becoming their presidential candidate.

In the past week senior figures have begun discussing openly how to derail the populist frontrunner with Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, describing Trump as a "phoney" and a "fraud". Romney outlined a plan - endorsed by John McCain, the Arizona senator - for anti-Trump Republicans to vote in the remaining primaries to deny the billionaire an outright majority and force a rarely seen contested convention.

Grand Old Primary senior figures could then persuade delegates to defect to their preferred candidate and rob the frontrunner of the nomination. But Trump's supporters say Romney's intervention only made them more certain to stick with the man they believe best represents their interests.

Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders scored key victories in the quest for the White House, but Trump and Hillary Clinton remained their parties' frontrunners as Super Saturday results came in.

Trump and Democrat Clinton both won in the delegate-rich state of Louisiana, keeping them on top at a critical point in the race.

Results from votes in five states were split, but one element was clear: Cruz boosted his claim as the most viable alternative to Trump after taking Kansas and Maine and putting Senator Marco Rubio under pressure to bow out.

Sanders' victories showed that the self-described democratic socialist can stay in the race, despite the long odds of defeating Clinton.

Cruz and Sanders can also claim momentum as they head towards races in Michigan next Tuesday and then the winner-takes-all races in Florida and Ohio on March 15.

"Thank you to Louisiana, and thank you to Kentucky," Trump said in Florida.

The races were the first test of whether the Republican establishment's desperate effort to halt Trump is having any effect. Trump declared those efforts a failure and called on Rubio, once seen as the best hope to defeat him, to quit.

"Personally, I'd call for him to drop out of the race," Trump said.

Trump is well ahead in the all-important delegate count for Republicans, having now won 12 of the 19 states that have voted up to now.


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