(From AFP)

US Senator Ted Cruz struck first in a handful of presidential nomination contests, decisively winning Kansas and Maine, and boosting his claim as the most viable alternative to billionaire frontrunner Donald Trump.

Trump celebrated his wins in Kentucky and Louisiana Saturday, calling for Marco Rubio to drop out of the 2016 race and saying he wants a “one on one” contest against Cruz.

On the Democratic side, it was Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist, who claimed the first two victories, in Kansas and Nebraska.

But Hillary Clinton bounced back to easily win Louisiana, seen as the weekend’s big prize.

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

With nearly half of the votes counted in Kansas, networks called the mid-western state for Cruz, who earned some 49% of the vote, doubling up on Trump who was second with 25%. Senator Marco Rubio was in third, followed by Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Kansas and the other contests will provide the first test of whether the Republican establishment’s desperate effort to halt Trump, led this week by 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, is having any effect among voters.

The brash real estate mogul Trump is ahead in the all-important delegate count for the Republicans, having won 10 of the 15 states that have voted to date in the process that determines the nominees for both parties.

But Cruz’s win is a reminder that while Trump still appears to be the likely nominee, it is by no means inevitable.

“God bless Kansas!” Cruz told a campaign rally in Idaho, upon learning that he was projected the winner.

“What we’re seeing is conservatives coming together… and standing as one behind this campaign.” Read More

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