Maine and Puerto Rico voters will turn out Sunday to cast ballots for presidential primary candidates, following a big night in which the leading candidates essentially split victories in five states.
Maine will hold a Democratic caucus in which 25 delegates are at stake, while Puerto Rico will hold a Republican caucus where 23 delegates are up for grabs.
Meanwhile, GOP front-runner Donald Trump won the Kentucky caucus and Louisiana primary Saturday while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claimed caucus wins in Kansas and Maine.
“We had a pretty good night,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday, acknowledging that he didn’t spend a lot of time campaign in Maine.
He also renewed his call for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to exit the race, after failing to win any of the five states Saturday and only winning one state, Minnesota, so far.
“Either way, it’ll be interesting,” he said.
Cruz, who is in second place now behind Trump, attributed his strong showing to conservatives coalescing behind his candidacy, calling it “a manifestation of a real shift in momentum.”
He suggested it was time for Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to call it quits.
“As long as the field remains divided, it gives Donald an advantage,” Cruz said Saturday.
Despite the support of many elected officials, Rubio’s lackluster performance Saturday raises serious questions about his viability in the race. He finished in third place in every state that voted Saturday except Maine, where The Associated Press projected him to finish behind Kasich.
Rubio said the upcoming schedule of primaries would be “better for us,” and renewed his vow to win his home state of Florida, claiming all 99 delegates there on March 15.
Saturday’s races saw high voter turnout in several states. Turnout in Republican presidential caucuses in Kansas exceeded the party’s most optimistic predictions.
State GOP Executive Director Clay Barker said at least 73,000 people cast ballots in Saturday’s caucuses. He said there are another 6,000 provisional ballots and 1,000 absentee ballots sent to voters but not yet collected.
That compares to about 30,000 people voting in the state’s GOP caucuses in 2012 and about 20,000 voting in 2008.
On the Democratic side, there was another divided verdict from voters. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders notched wins in the Nebraska and Kansas caucuses, while front-runner Hillary Clinton snagged a win in the Louisiana primary.
“No matter who wins this Democratic nomination, I have not the slightest doubt that on our worst day we will be infinitely better than the Republicans on their best day,” Clinton said.
She also said she was thrilled to add to her delegate count and expected to do well in Michigan’s primary on Tuesday. But before that, she and Sanders will go head-to-head Sunday in Maine.
Despite Clinton’s commanding lead in the delegate count, Sanders vowed to keep fighting until the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this summer.
GOP establishment figures are looking for any way to derail Trump, perhaps at a contested convention if no candidate can get enough delegates to lock up the nomination in advance.
Party leaders — including 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and 2008 nominee Sen. John McCain — are fearful a Trump victory would lead to a disastrous November election, with losses up and down the GOP ticket.
“Everyone’s trying to figure out how to stop Trump,” Trump marveled about himself at an afternoon rally in Orlando, Fla. At the rally, the billionaire businessman had supporters raise their hands and swear to vote for him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.