Did Donald Trump Get All Of West Virginia's Delegates? He Won Big In The Coal Country's Primary
The Donald Trump train continues to pull in closer to the nomination station. Tuesday in West Virginia Donald Trump won all the delegates — and it's not even a winner-take-all state. Not all of the delegates have been called officially, but looking at the raw election data, he's bound to. He took home nearly 77 percent of the vote according to the Associated Press with 97 percent of the votes counted. The Donald also won every county. His divisive messages seem to have united the state's GOP voters unlike we've seen elsewhere in the country. And for Trump, given the importance of reaching a majority of delegates before the convention, this was a really, really good night. Sorry, America.
West Virginia has a complicated but interesting system for allocating delegates. The state's delegates are all bound to a candidate, but not in a traditional sense. All the delegates have their names placed on the ballot. This means that you're not just voting for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz but for people like "John Smith" who commit to support a certain candidate — or are running uncommitted. Nine of these people are chosen by congressional district and the other 22 are elected by the statewide vote. The three GOP officials who make up the formerly unbound delegates are also bound to the statewide winner.
Trump won the three delegates in each of the three congressional districts as well as the 22 running statewide. Cruz delegates didn't come close in any of the districts or statewide. It was a blowout. Trump also won big in Nebraska, taking home the state's 36 winner-take-all delegates. Cruz — who hinted at reentering the race if he won — finished about 30 points behind.
Trump was happy about the results and pointed to what they could mean for the two states come November. "It is a great honor to have won both West Virginia and Nebraska, especially by such massive margins. My time spent in both states was a wonderful and enlightening experience for me," he said in a statement. "I look forward to returning to West Virginia and Nebraska soon, and hope to win both states in the general election."
That should not be a problem. Preliminary exit polls showed Trump easily carrying GOP voters in November in both West Virginia and Nebraska, meaning Hillary Clinton will have a difficult time making inroads in the generally Republican-leaning states. Especially when you look at her numbers among Democratic voters. At least one third of the state's Democratic voters said they would break rank with the party and vote for Trump in November.
She herself lost badly Tuesday in West Virginia to Bernie Sanders. Preliminary results show Sanders ahead by about 15 points. But Clinton may not need the state, though — West Virginia hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1996 when Bill Clinton won with just over half the vote. That would mark the end of Democratic power in the state that begin around the time of the Great Depression.