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Trump declared winner in Virginia, North Carolina as Super Tuesday unfolds

(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump continued to dominate in early Super Tuesday results. He was declared the winner in Virginia and North Carolina shortly after polls closed in the two states.

Trump, winner of all early state primaries and caucuses by double digits heading into Super Tuesday, held a dominating 32 percentage point lead in Virginia over Nikki Haley, his lone remaining challenger for the GOP nomination. With about half of all votes counted in Virginia, Trump led with about 65% of the vote. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations, was far back at about 33%.

Haley’s only win so far was in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, where she secured 19 Republican delegates, bringing her total to date to 43. With 247 delegates, Trump held a commanding lead coming into Tuesday’s vote, where 854 delegates are up for grabs.

A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump can sweep Super Tuesday states – 854 of the 2,429 delegates are on the line, though not every state is winner take all – and still not clinch the nomination. He needs 971 more.

If he wins about 90% of the delegates through next Tuesday, he would clinch the nomination.

Trump faces 91 felony charges in four separate indictments. Those are linked to challenging election results in 2020 in Georgia; the Jan. 6, 2021, violent protests at the U.S. Capitol; his handling of classified documents; and hush money paid to a porn actress among others. Because of the possibility of conviction ahead of the Nov. 5 general election, Haley finishing second in delegate counts could be more important than ever.

Barring a conviction, Trump, 77, seems the likely nominee to face off against President Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 race.

Biden, 81, is also on the ballot in 14 Super Tuesday states, but his nomination seems secure. Major media outlets called Virginia and Vermont for Biden shortly after polls closed there Tuesday.

Biden has faced tough questions about his memory loss and mental capacity. He would be 86 at the end of a second term. U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., has been the only challenger to stay in the race and is on some but not all ballots.

There’s been a recent push, with modest at best results, centered on the war between Israel and Hamas for Democrats to choose options such as “uncommitted” or “no preference.”

Biden, like Trump, cannot clinch his party’s nomination Tuesday, but holds a hefty lead. Democrats have 1,420 delegates at stake, about one-third of the 3,934 total. It takes 1,968 to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. Biden entered Tuesday with 206.

Following East Coast results, voters in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee (divided into Eastern and Central time zones), Texas and Utah will have their say.

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