Donald Trump continues to pave his way towards a GOP nomination with an excellent Super Tuesday showing.
Trump has won Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Virginia, Arkansas and Vermont in the Super Tuesday polls while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won Texas and Oklahoma. Marco Rubio took home one victory in Minnesota.
The billionaire is looking like the winner of Super Tuesday. It’s a best-case scenario for Trump, whose win will likely signal the end of one ore more of his rival’s campaigns.
Tuesday also poses an issue for Republican leaders, who are attempting to unite a party divided over its likely nominee.
An Associated Press survey of GOP senators and governors across the country showed just under half of respondents would not commit to backing Trump if he’s the nominee. Their reluctance foreshadowed a potentially extraordinary split in the party this fall.
The worries among Republicans appeared to grow after Trump briefly refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke during a television interview. Trump said he had not understood the interviewer who first raised the question about Duke, and he did later repudiate him.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he is trying to stay out of the “day-to-day ups and downs of the primary,” but called for the party to reject any racist group or individual.
Rivals Rubio and Ted Cruz were engaging in a frantic effort to stop the billionaire prior to Super Tuesday — with Rubio in particular lobbing surprisingly personal attacks — but it is unclear whether they have made their move too late.
Rubio was hoping to merely stay in the race on Tuesday in hopes of pulling off a win in Florida, his home state, in its upcoming March 15 primary.
The Florida senator has cast himself as Republicans’ best chance to win in a general election and has received a flood of endorsements from GOP officials after other more mainstream candidates dropped out. But he’s failed to win a state so far, raising questions about his strategy for topping Trump.
The billionaire will face off his Republican counterparts at the next debate on Thursday. On Saturday, Trump will get his next shot to secure his spot as the Republican presidential nominee, when the candidates take on caucuses in Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Maine.