MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — CBS News has projected a win for Marco Rubio in Minnesota’s Republican Caucuses, marking his first victory in the race to the 2016 presidential election.
The Florida senator chipped away at Donald Trump’s sizable lead in the march to the GOP presidential nomination by landing the largest share of Minnesota’s delegates Tuesday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was vying for second place.
Minnesota has 38 delegates, but Rubio won’t claim them all. The state’s caucus system awards them proportionally based on each candidate’s share of the vote.
Officials with the Republican Party said early estimates indicate that anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 people turned out for the GOP caucus, which is significantly higher than the 65,000 in 2008.
“Tonight was a fantastic night for Minnesota Republicans who are energized and turned out in record numbers.” Chairman Keith Downey said in a recent press release. “From greater Minnesota, to the urban core, to the University of Minnesota, to the suburbs we had caucus rooms filled to overflowing with people who are concerned about the future of our country.”
GALLERY: Minnesota Caucuses Bring Out Droves
Rubio was the only Republican to visit Minnesota this year ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
Rubio appeared at a full house at the Courtyards of Andover Events Center on Tuesday. Close to 2,000 people filled the room to see and hear from the Florida senator. His key message was that America is on the wrong path, and the other key candidates in the race are the wrong choices to lead the nation.
Shortly after taking the stage, Rubio described Donald Trump as a “world-class con artist and a sham” who is preying on people’s frustration, fear and anger.
RESULTS: Democratic Presidential Caucus
Up until Super Tuesday, Rubio had not won a single state in the race for the White House. On March 15, his home state of Florida is holding its primary.
Nationally, it was a big night for both Clinton and Donald Trump, though Ted Cruz and Sanders also picked up some wins. As reported by WCCO’s Pat Kessler, Republican establishment figures are “running around today with their hair on fire, actually saying if Trump is the nominee the party is in peril.”
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