Trump and Clinton continue to dominate US primaries

2016-03-09 13:42
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

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Washington - Donald Trump has swept to victory in the Mississippi and Michigan presidential primaries, expanding his lead in the contest for the Republican nomination.

Democrat Hillary Clinton easily carried Mississippi but is locked in a close race with rival Bernie Sanders in Michigan.

Trump built his victories in the industrial Midwest and the Deep South with broad appeal across many demographics, winning evangelical Christians, Republicans, independents, those who wanted an outsider and those who said they were angry about how the federal government is working, exit polls showed.

At a news conference afterwards, Trump said he was drawing new voters to the Republican Party and the establishment figures that are resisting his campaign should save their money and focus on beating the Democrats in November.

"I hope Republicans will embrace it," Trump said of his campaign. "We have something going that is so good, we should grab each other and unify the party."

Clinton also won in Mississippi, helped by a strong showing with African-American voters, who make up more than half of the Democratic electorate. Exit polls showed Clinton winning nine of every 10 black voters.

With votes in Michigan still being counted, Clinton glossed over her contest with Sanders and jabbed at the Republicans and their chaotic nomination fight.

"Every time you think it can't get any uglier, they find a way," she said. "As the rhetoric keeps sinking lower, the stakes in this election keep rising."

Having entered Tuesday's contests facing a barrage of criticism from rival candidates and outside groups, Trump revelled in overcoming the attacks.

"Every single person who has attacked me has gone down," Trump said at one of his Florida resorts. 

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, said the Democrat vote in Michigan was too close to call though the numbers point in Clinton's favour.

"There's a large percentage of African-American voters there who typically are favouring Mrs Clinton but at the same time, [Sanders'] message of income inequality, of being left behind in a 'rigged economy' resonate with those voters who have felt the impact of globalisation and seen the auto-manufacturing industry really crumble," she said.

Trump's Michigan victory sets him up for a potentially decisive day of voting next Tuesday. On March 15, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina - like Michigan, states rich in the delegates who will select their party's nominee at July's Republican National Convention - cast ballots.

The Republican contests in Florida and Ohio award all the state's delegates to the winner. If Trump, 69, could sweep those two states and pile up delegates elsewhere next week, it could knock home-state favourites Marco Rubio and John Kasich out of the race and make it tough for Ted Cruz to catch him.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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