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Arizona political experts differ on Super Tuesday meaning for candidates

PHOENIX — A pair of longtime Valley-based political observers stood in opposite corners about where the 2016 presidential races were headed after Super Tuesday.

Former Arizona legislator Chris Herstam said Donald Trump was the “inevitable” GOP nominee, while consultant Stan Barnes said that race wasn’t over at all.

Trump captured seven of the 11 states where Republicans voted. Sen. Ted Cruz won three states and Sen. Marco Rubio took his first state.

“The Republican party establishment is now in a horrible predicament,” Herstam said. “Their guy Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker have all fallen by the wayside. The party faces a choice between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Both are disliked by the establishment.

“Marco Rubio is way behind in the polling in his home state of Florida and also in Ohio. I don’t see any way that he can come back.”

Barnes disagrees.

“Marco Rubio winning his first state, in a bit of a surprise in Minnesota, means the GOP race is not over and the nomination is not sewn up,” he said.

“The battle over the traditional chamber of commerce Republican versus the outsider independent Donald Trump will roll into the next round of states. It may even roll into Arizona on March 22.”

Barnes also said, “Arizona’s vote might end up actually mattering.”

Herstam says Hillary Clinton has all but locked up the Democratic nomination with her big Super Tuesday wins over Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Hillary Clinton pounded Bernie Sanders in most of the states. She roared through the South just like she did last weekend in South Carolina by getting a monstrous percentage of the African-American vote.

“Sanders will stay in this until the very because he wants to keep talking about the issues but it’s clearly going to be Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee.”

Barnes said, “Sanders continues to prove that (Clinton is) a vulnerable candidate within her own party. Sanders is part of a movement on the left and will take it all the way to the convention and will have his moment at that convention.

“(But) he will not be the nominee.”

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