JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - News4Jax is looking at how the races for the presidential nominations are shaping up and moving forward after Donald trump and Hillary Clinton won Saturday and former Gov. Jeb Bush leaves the race.
Clinton won the Democratic Nevada caucuses with a slim margin over Bernie Sanders, while Trump won more handily in South Carolina, but Sen. Marco Rubio edged out Sen. Ted Cruz for second place.
News4Jax spoke to political experts who agree on a couple things: that Clinton is now even more likely to become the Democratic nominee and that Trump has a way to go before he’s clinched his party’s nomination.
A few things that reshape the 2016 race for president happened Saturday. Clinton won a state that polling showed was a very close vote, beating Bernie Sanders by five points in Nevada. Polls show she has a much easier path in South Carolina.
The Republicans lost a big name in the race: Bush suspended his campaign, making some question if Trump is now the definite front-runner for the GOP.
Rick Mullaney, works at the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University and is a former GOP mayoral candidate in Jacksonville, said the Republican establishment will start coalescing around a candidate who’s not Trump, and this race will drag on.
"He’s in the driver seat but this is far, far from over. Particularly as this consolidates, as I’ve said there’s a pre-consolidation race when everyone was in but there’s a post-consolidation race when everybody was in. There’s a post consolidation race as people drop out … as it narrows there’s a problem for Donald Trump," Mullaney said.
Michael Binder, an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, said Clinton’s path to beat Sanders just became a whole lot clearer.
"She’s going to blow him out in South Carolina. A lot of these southern states have a heavy African-American population and that population is predominantly leaning toward the Clinton campaign. I think she had a nice little warm up, but now I think it’s going to be Clinton’s race to run away with," Binder said.
Some voters said they’re still absorbing the news, realizing that the primaries in Florida have yet to come and they still expect to have their say at the ballot box.
"I think it’s absolutely extremely important that Florida gets a vote and gets a say. I think that Florida should get its vote," said Gena Grant.
As far as what’s next in the races, the parties flip. The Republicans caucus in Nevada and the Democrats vote in South Carolina's primary. That leads up to what’s called the SEC primary on March 1, where a lot of states, mostly in the south, vote. The Florida presidential primaries take place two weeks later.
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