Trump wins Republican caucuses in Michigan, Missouri, Idaho

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Donald Trump has won every state nominating contest heading into next week's 'Super Tuesday' [Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters]

Former United States President Donald Trump has cruised to victory in Republican caucuses in Michigan, Missouri and Idaho, gaining huge momentum in the race to capture his party’s presidential nomination.

In all three states on Saturday, Trump trounced Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador and his last remaining rival.

The former president has now won every state-nominating contest heading into next week’s “Super Tuesday,” when voters in 15 US states and one territory choose their preferred candidate for each party.

In Michigan, Trump beat Haley in all 13 districts taking part in the nominating caucuses, according to the state Republican Party.

More than 1,600 party insiders participated in the caucus in the western Michigan city of Grand Rapids, where they were choosing delegates for Trump or Haley for the party’s national nominating convention in July.

Overall, Trump won with nearly 98 percent support: 1,575 votes to just 36 for Haley.

Pete Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican Party’s chair, called it an “overwhelming, dominating victory”.

Haley is fast running out of time to alter the course of the Republican nominating race.

With victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the US Virgin Islands, South Carolina and now Michigan, Missouri and Idaho under his belt, Trump is far and away the frontrunner in the race, with Haley hanging on thanks to support from donors keen for an alternative to the former president.

For this election cycle, Michigan Republicans devised a hybrid nominating system, split between a primary and a caucus.

Trump won the primary convincingly on Tuesday, securing 12 of 16 delegates up for grabs. He took all of Michigan’s remaining 39 delegates at stake on Saturday.

At one of the 13 caucus meetings, the participants – knowing Trump would win easily – decided to save time by simply asking anyone who backed Haley to stand up. In a room of 185 voting delegates, 25-year-old Carter Houtman was the only person who rose to his feet.

“It was a little lonely,” Houtman told the Reuters news agency in an interview afterwards.

Houtman said he would likely vote for Trump in November’s general election if he is the nominee but felt it was important to stand up for his beliefs on Saturday.

“I didn’t like the way that Trump handled himself after the last election,” Houtman said.

Dennis Milosch, 87, a Trump supporter, said the former president’s dominating win on Saturday underscored how the party has been transformed from one aligned with big business to one focused on the working class.

“Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he pays attention to, responds to, the average person,” Milosch said.

Both Trump and Haley spent Saturday campaigning in North Carolina ahead of its primary next week.

During a rally for supporters in Greensboro, Trump, who is facing charges in four criminal cases, cast himself as a victim of a political witch hunt and called on voters to come out in force to send a signal.

“I stand before you today not only as your past and hopefully future president, but as a proud political dissident and a public enemy of a rogue regime,” Trump said.

Trump’s victories in Missouri and Idaho netted him 54 and 32 delegates respectively.

His count now stands at 244 compared with 24 for Haley.

A candidate needs to secure 1,215 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.

Trump is likely to face President Joe Biden, a Democrat, in the November elections, pitting the two against each other for the second time since 2020.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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