Businessman Donald J. Trump may have won the Republican primary in Massachusetts last Tuesday, but in Cambridge, Ohio governor John R. Kasich was the winner.
In Cambridge, Kasich earned 34 percent of the Republican vote as Trump trailed him with 25.2 percent, according to data compiled and published online by the Boston Globe. That result stands in stark contrast to the final statewide tally, in which Trump came away with a commanding 49.3 percent of the 631,395 Republican votes cast. Kasich finished a distant second in Massachusetts with just 18 percent.
Massachusetts’ Democratic primary was much closer, with former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton earning 50.1 percent of 1,204,927 Democratic votes cast, barely edging out Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who garnered 48.7 percent.
Clinton had a slightly larger lead in Cambridge, where she received 53.3 percent of the vote, seven percent more than Sanders.
Some Harvard students spent the days leading up to the primary, held on the same day as 11 other state contests as part of “Super Tuesday,” working to get out the vote for their favored candidates.
James Pindell, a political reporter for The Boston Globe, said voting results in Cambridge are not indicative of broader statewide trends, and that the close finish between Sanders and Clinton reflected the immense effort both candidates expended trying to target Massachusetts’ white, working-class neighborhoods.
“Massachusetts has this reputation of white liberal elite, but Massachusetts politically is not so much Cambridge and metro west areas that tend to be more liberal elite,” Pindell said. “[Massachusetts is] much more driven by blue-collar white working class… in terms of those voters, Bernie and Hillary were directly competing.”
Pindell said Massachusetts would have been the “biggest prize” of the five states Sanders’ campaign hoped to carry on Super Tuesday, and added that the candidate’s failure to do so bodes extremely poorly for his future.
“Massachusetts was pretty much [Sanders’] last stand; he had to win here,” Pindell said. “He has the money to stay in, and clearly his supporters want him to stay in, but, after losing Massachusetts, it’s hard to see how he will win the nomination.”
Despite losing Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, Sanders did pull out wins in four other states. Harvard professors, however, said the results of the multiple primaries held that day likely solidified Clinton’s standing as the Democratic Party’s likely nominee.
According to Politico, Clinton now has 63 state delegates from Massachusetts, ahead of Sanders’ 46.
On the GOP side, Pindell said he was not surprised by Trump’s outsized victory and Kasich’s second-place finish. Pindell credited Trump with “putting in the time here,” noting that the business mogul held four events in the state over the past year, including his recent rally at University of Massachusetts Lowell in January.
Kasich narrowly beat Florida Senator Marco A. Rubio, who ended close behind him with 17.9 percent of the vote, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who came in fourth with just 9.6 percent. Trump now has 22 delegates from Massachusetts, while Kasich and Rubio each picked up eight apiece.
Though Rubio has gained national attention as a potential “establishment” candidate who could make strides against Trump, Pindell described Kasich’s victory over Rubio in Massachusetts as “just another example where Rubio struggled” on Super Tuesday.
Still, Massachusetts is a state that could “easily align with Rubio,” Pindell said, suggesting that Rubio’s failure to gain more of the Republican vote was likely due to the candidate’s lack of presence in the state.
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