HomePoliticsTrump sweeps three caucuses in Missouri, Michigan and Idaho

Trump sweeps three caucuses in Missouri, Michigan and Idaho

Former President Donald Trump captured a trio of states on Saturday, moving closer to formalizing the party’s nomination for president.

Trump won victories in Missouri and Idaho, and picked up more delegates at the party convention in Michigan. But none of these three state elections were primaries. All were caucuses, which limited attendance by requiring participants to arrive at a specific time and usually stay for a certain period of time to participate in a more formal process.

The details of the caucus vary from state to state, but usually involve hearing speeches and then casting a vote.

The Associated Press called the Trump caucuses in Missouri at 12:40 p.m. ET. According to the AP, Trump also received the 39 available delegates for the congressional meetings in Michigan. Idaho was the last state to go for Trump, with an AP race call at 6:58 p.m. ET.

Trump has now won every Republican nominating contest since the beginning of the year. He will face his only serious remaining challenger, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, in the host of elections held on March 5, known as Super Tuesday.

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Saturday’s losses were another indication that Haley has bleak prospects for winning the nomination.

Nikki Haley walks off stage after speaking at her election party in Charleston, South Carolina.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley walks off stage after a speech in Charleston, SC, on February 24.

Caucuses limited participation

In both Idaho and Missouri, state lawmakers have canceled Republican primaries and replaced them with caucuses.

This gave a small percentage of Republicans in the state control over who the party nominates.

The last time Idaho held caucuses instead of a primary, in 2012, only about 45,000 people attended. That was about a fifth of all registered Republicans in the state. The numbers in Idaho on Saturday evening appeared to be even lower, with the Associated Press reporting that fewer than 40,000 votes had been cast.

The timing of the caucuses was also an obstacle for many. Idaho, which is split between the Mountain and Pacific time zones, held its caucuses at 12:30 or 1:30 in the afternoon. Missouri held its caucuses at 10 a.m. Central Time.

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The Michigan caucus convention was even more limited

In Michigan, where the caucuses were held at 10 a.m. ET, the average voter couldn’t even participate.

Michigan also held a primary earlier this week, awarding about a third of that state’s delegates. Trump won that contest easily.

But there was a scheduling conflict between the date set by the Michigan Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, and the rules for the Republican nominating calendar set by the Republican National Committee.

So the Republican Party in Michigan created a hybrid system in which a majority of the state’s 55 delegates are allocated based on a caucus convention.

The caucus convention, held Saturday, brought together about 2,000 party activists from across the state, who were selected at the county level.

A state of confusion

But the confusion in Michigan deepened when activists last year accused state party chair Kristina Karamo of mismanaging the organization’s finances.

Trump endorsed another state party chairman, former Assemblyman Pete Hoekstra, as well as the Republican National Committee.

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However, Karamo refused to withdraw and organized her own caucus convention, separate from the caucus convention of Hoekstra and his organization.

Just one day before the two dueling meetings were to take place, Karamo and her former staff bowed to pressure from the national party and canceled their competing caucus convention.

Former President Donald Trump stands on stage with several other people during an election night watch party.Former President Donald Trump stands on stage with several other people during an election night watch party.

Trump at an election night watch party in Columbia, SC, on February 24.

On the way to Tuesday

While the votes may be small, the wins in Missouri, Michigan and Idaho give Trump some momentum heading into Super Tuesday. Trump’s campaign hopes to wrap up the primaries in the coming weeks — or even Tuesday night, should Haley drop out.

As for staying in the race, Haley has said March 5 is “as far as I’ve thought in terms of moving forward.”

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