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Trump, Clinton Dominate In Tampa Bay And Florida

Christopher Collier

Tampa Bay area voters delivered impressive wins to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential preference primary.

The Republican businessman and Clinton, the Democratic former Secretary of State, had convincing wins in all six major Tampa Bay-area counties – reflecting a trend that played out across Florida.

Health care worker Ashlyn Atigre, a Tampa resident, was among those who voted for Clinton.

“She is most conservative of the Democrats. I’m by no means a far-left Democrat. I find myself right in the middle of being conservative and liberal,” she said. “I have a lot of conservative financial views and a lot of liberal social views.”

Over in Lakeland, David Edward said up until a few weeks ago, he supported Florida’s Marco Rubio, the U.S. Senator who suspended his campaign after results came in.

“I supported Rubio when he was Senator and so forth.  It's just I don't think he's the man this year,” he said. “I have no problem with Rubio. It’s just that I think Trump is going to win the nomination if we back him up and I think he will beat Hilary good."

Unofficial results Tuesday night, with 98 percent of the ballots count, showed that in the Republican race, Trump won Florida with 45.73 percent. Rubio, placed second in Florida with 26.98 percent of the vote. Texas Senator Ted Cruz came in third.

On the Democratic side, Clinton won 64.48 percent of the vote in Florida. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ended up with 33.23 percent. In the Tampa Bay area, unofficial results of the top two finishers included:

·         Hillsborough, 98.85 percent reporting: Rep: Trump, 40.9 percent; Rubio, 28.44 percent. Dem: Clinton, 62.79 percent; Sanders, 35.02 percent.

·         Pinellas, 100 percent reporting: Rep. Trump, 46.57 percent; Rubio, 22.68 percent. Dem: Clinton, 60.34 percent; Sanders, 37.61 percent.

·         Sarasota County, 100 percent reporting: Rep: Trump, 47.31 percent; Rubio, 24.44 percent. Dem: Clinton, 61.13 percent; Sanders, 37.26 percent.

·         Pasco County, 100 percent: Rep: Trump, 50.95 percent; Rubio 21.02 percent. Dem: Clinton, 58.33 percent; Sanders, 38.85 percent.

·         Polk, 100 percent reporting: Rep: Trump, 44.90 percent; Rubio, 25.42 percent. Dem: Clinton, 63.05 percent, Sanders, 33.26 percent.

·         Manatee, 100 percent reporting Rep: Trump, 47.19 percent; Rubio, 24.14 percent. Dem: Clinton, 62.52 percent; Sanders, 35.08 percent.

On the Republican side, Texas Senator Ted Cruz took third place in all six counties hovering between 13.80 percent in Sarasota County to 20.97 percent in Polk.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Clinton supporter, said Florida’s vote pushes Clinton closer to winning the delegates she needs to win her party’s nomination.

“I think mathematically it becomes increasingly difficult for Senator Sanders to catch her. He’s put up a great fight. His message has resonated. But I think when it’s all said and done, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee,” Buckhorn said. “And so I look at this as one step. I look at the primaries that are happening in two weeks as another step.”

Rubio’s decision to suspend his campaign was not unexpected. He had to win the 99 delegates in his home state to keep going in the presidential race, said Nick DiCeglie, chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee.

“Marco is a great Republican. He is somebody who reflects our principles very clearly. Unfortunately, for Marco Rubio, the electorate has spoken. They are looking for somebody who is anti-establishment who is committed I think to do something different than Washington (D.C.) has seen in decades quite frankly.”

Across Florida, early, incomplete numbers show more than 2.3 million Republicans and nearly 1.7 million Democrats voted Tuesday. Back in 2008, a total of 4.2 million voters voted in the Democratic and GOP primaries.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the election ran relatively smoothly, despite a few "minor issues."

One problem was that some voters in Palm Beach County mistakenly thought they had received ballots without Donald Trump's name on them. Detzner says it turned out those voters were not registered as Republicans and were not allowed to vote in the GOP primary.

He also said some Orange County precincts did not have enough ballots but that election officials in that county quickly came up with ways to resolve the problem.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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