Frontrunner Donald Trump won the Michigan Republican primary Tuesday night with 37.7 percent of the Republican vote.
Michigan’s demographics are fairly representative of the U.S. population as a whole in terms of minority population proportion, median income and age distribution, according to U.S. census data. though those demographics don’t necessarily correspond with the electorate.
Trump was followed by Gov. John Kasich (R–Ohio) who won 25.9 percent. Gov. Ted Cruz (R–Tex.) — who nationally follows Trump by 15.2 percent according to a RealClearPolitics polling average — came in third with 22.5 percent of the vote, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) finished fourth earning only 9 percent of the vote, with 25.5 percent of precincts reporting.
Washtenaw County was one of two counties in the state with a majority vote for Kasich, along with Kalamazoo County.
Trump continues to lead the delegate counts at 384 delegates with Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Tex.) in second with 300 and Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) trailing in a distant third with 151 delegates. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination.
In his victory speech, Trump said he appreciated the decisive victory and the large turnout.
“To get these kinds of numbers where they call them immediately is just something else. I want to thank the people of Michigan,” he said. “One of the things I very happy about is the turnout has just massive for every week.”
In the press conference after the announcement of his victory, Trump’s speech also included plugs for several of his businesses including Trump Steaks, Trump Magazine and Trump Water in a series of disconnected seeming ideas.
Communications Prof. John Pasek said Republican leadership has been looking for a candidate to oppose Trump in the primary as many see him as toxic to the party. However, he added that the Republican party has been unable to coalesce behind a single candidate.
Despite his relative success in Michigan, much of the party sees Trump as unelectable in comparison to other establishment candidates, Pasek noted. However, he said Rubio’s poor showing in Michigan may leave the party with Cruz as the only alternative to Trump.
The Michigan primary follows two presidential debates in the state, with a Republican debate held in Detroit last Thursday and a Democratic debate in Flint on Sunday. While the Republican debate’s focus stayed national, the Democratic debate spent considerable time discussing Michigan-centric issues including the Flint water crisis and Detroit Public Schools crumbling infrastructure.
Pasek said it is hard to know what issues in the debate truly impact voters because there are so many hotly contested issues throughout the course of the debate.
“When you have a reasonable contested debate it is hard to read which attacks are the ones that are working for the candidates and which are turning potential voters off,” he said. “The proof is going to be in the pudding with this debate.”
This is a developing story; check michigandaily.com for more primary coverage throughout the night.