Trump Wins Vermont, Closely Followed By Kasich

Mar 2, 2016

Billionaire businessman Donald J. Trump scored a win in Vermont's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night, beating out Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the state's handful of GOP delegates.

With 98.91 percent of the state reporting, Trump pulled in 32.74 percent of Vermont's GOP primary votes, according to the Associated Press. Kasich came in second among Vermont's Republican primary voters, with 30.37 percent. Florida Sen Marco Rubio notched a third-place finish, with 19.27 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received 9.72 percent.

Campaigning in left-leaning Vermont was not a top priority for any Republican candidate leading up to Super Tuesday. The Green Mountain State can only offer up to 16 Republican National Convention delegates to a GOP victor here, by far the smallest Super Tuesday reward for Republicans from any contest, save for American Samoa's.

Nonetheless, Trump visited Vermont once, in early January, when he held a rally in Burlington that drew supporters and protesters alike. And Kasich made three stops to Vermont ahead of Tuesday's primaries, as he tried to position himself as a calmer, more moderate alternative to Trump's brash campaign style.

Neither Rubio nor Cruz visited Vermont to campaign.

According to a VPR poll conducted last month, Trump enjoyed support from about a third of Vermont's likely GOP primary voters. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was polling in third place here, at about 14 percent, just behind Rubio.

Even before Super Tuesday, some Vermont Republicans had raised concerns about a potential Trump nomination, especially following his controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Lieutenant Gov. Phil Scott, who is running for governor, released a statement Tuesday morning that seemed to condemn Trump, though he didn't call out the New York real estate mogul by name.

"I cannot support someone who exploits fear for political gain, mocks people with disabilities; attacks journalists who ask difficult questions, makes sexist, racist and other hateful comments, or who is willing to overlook the truth if it doesn't work to their advantage,” said Scott, who has already endorsed Rubio in the presidential race.

Trump walked away the clear Republican victor on Super Tuesday, winning contests in seven of the 11 states that held GOP contests.