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2016 Elections

Christopher Collier / WUSF News

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.

The GOP presidential field dropped by one candidate on Tuesday night, but Republicans are still no closer to uniting behind a nominee.

Democrats, however, did get more clarity as Hillary Clinton racked up more wins over Bernie Sanders, extending her delegate lead and complicating the Vermont senator's nomination calculation.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced Tuesday night that he was suspending his campaign for president after losing his home state in a landslide to Donald Trump.

"After tonight it is clear that while we are on the right side, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio told supporters in Miami.

Rubio congratulated Donald Trump at the start of his speech, but later appeared to criticize the real estate mogul's tactics.

Voters across the Tampa Bay area will finally know tonight who wins the favor of Democratic and Republican voters in Florida. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner says he's expecting record turnout in today's presidential primary.  More than 2 million in Florida have cast early votes. Detzner says absentee and early voting numbers are higher than in 2012.

[View the story "Florida Primary 2016" on Storify]

And he says polling places have been busy so far today.

We're chronicling some of what area voters, local media, and maybe a politician or two have been saying about election day on social media.

Roberto Roldan/WUSF News

Several thousand people crowded into the Tampa Convention Center Monday afternoon, as Donald Trump made his second local appearance ahead of the Florida presidential primary.

Trump, Clinton Hold Big Poll Leads Going Into Florida Primary

Mar 14, 2016
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton hold big leads going into Tuesday's presidential primaries in Florida - a potentially devastating sign for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's bid for the White House, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

Trump leads Rubio by a margin of 46 percent to 22 percent, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 10 percent.

After all the debates and primaries and chatter from the political class, it all comes down to this: Tuesday's Florida primary may determine the next Republican candidate for president.

If Florida Senator Marco Rubio doesn't come in first - and collect 99 delegates in the winner-take-all contest, his quest is probably over.

Roberto Roldan/WUSF

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders concluded a state tour Thursday night at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. An estimated crowd of 9,000 packed the Expo Hall to hear the Vermont senator in this final push to Tuesday's presidential primary.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people at the Tampa Convention Center Monday night, vowing not only to stay in the race for president, but saying he's the only Republican candidate who can beat front-runner Donald Trump.

Here's a memo to all those candidates for are planning last-minute stops before Florida's March 15 primary: a lot of voters have already made up their minds.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Voters in Florida are casting early ballots and candidates are holding campaign events across the state ahead of the primary on Tuesday. 

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what's at stake for Florida's voters -- and the candidates.

Florida Sen. and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio campaigned Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium. 

On the surface, Saturday's election results appeared divided. After all, on the GOP side Ted Cruz and Donald Trump each won two contests, while among Democrats it was Bernie Sanders who won two of the night's contests as Hillary Clinton netted one victory.

Campaigns Come to Florida Amid Super Tuesday

Mar 1, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio ended their  "Super Tuesday" campaigning by holding rallies in South Florida.

Associated Press

Marco Rubio released summaries of his last five years of tax filings on Saturday, revealing him to be a candidate with a senator's steady annual income of $176,000 who reaped repeated windfalls from book deals.

Hillary Clinton won the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, notching a decisive win in a state where she suffered a devastating loss just eight years ago.

The Associated Press called the race for the former secretary of state over rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders just seconds after the polls closed at 7 p.m. ET. With all precincts reporting, Clinton beat Sanders by nearly 50 points, winning 73.5 percent to 26 percent.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

The U.S. House Ethics Committee said Monday it is investigating Rep. Alan Grayson, the Florida Democrat who is running for Senate and whose business activities have come under scrutiny for the past several months.

The committee's Republican chairman and senior Democrat said in a joint statement that the panel is reviewing a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics and will decide its next step by April 5.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, an ardent supporter of Jeb Bush's run for the presidency, said he was profoundly disappointed that the former Florida governor ended his bid after a poor showing in Saturday's primary in South Carolina.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The four Republican candidates for U.S. Senate were the main event Saturday night at the Hillsborough Republican Party's Lincoln 2016 Red Ball.

Jeb Bush is ending his campaign for president after a disappointing showing in the South Carolina primary.

"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision," the former Florida governor told his supporters gathered in Columbia on Saturday night. "So tonight, I am suspending my campaign."

"I congratulate my competitors, that are remaining on the island, on their success in a race that has been hard-fought, just as the contest for the presidency should be because it is a tough job," he continued.

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press / AP Photo

A Florida man who pleaded guilty to landing a gyrocopter outside the U.S. Capitol as a political protest is getting a little bit more freedom as he awaits sentencing and works to plan a congressional campaign.

Douglas Hughes, a Democrat from Ruskin, has said he plans to challenge South Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Because of his court case, however, a judge had ordered him to largely stay in the county where he lives. He sought permission to travel throughout Florida.

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