Why AP called the Virginia GOP primary for Trump: Race call explained


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press was able to declare former President Donald Trump the winner of the Virginia Republican presidential primary based on initial vote results from key locations in the state showing him with a sizable lead over former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

An AP analysis of the commonwealth’s voting history and the political leanings of different parts of the state also showed no scenario would allow Haley to take the lead.

It was the first Republican race called on Super Tuesday, when voters decide primaries and caucuses in 16 states and American Samoa. More than 70% of the delegates needed to mathematically clinch either the Democratic or Republican presidential nominations will be decided based on Tuesday’s contests.

Trump was declared the winner at 7:25 p.m. EST, at which time the former president had nearly a two-to-one lead over Haley with an estimated 14% of ballots counted. By that time, some votes had been reported from almost half of Virginia’s 133 counties and independent cities. The results showed Trump winning in most of the state, except in the heavily Democratic suburbs of Washington, D.C.

In the run-up to Super Tuesday, Trump had won by wide margins in eight of the nine contests where he and Haley both appeared on the ballot. His 11-point win in New Hampshire was the narrowest of his victories.

Trump started the day with a big delegate lead over Haley, but despite the 854 GOP delegates at stake on Super Tuesday, the earliest he could win enough delegates to clinch the nomination is March 12. He would need to win about 90% of the nearly 1,100 delegates at stake on Super Tuesday through March 12 to wrap up the nomination by that date.

Other states voting on Super Tuesday include Vermont, where polls close at 7 p.m. EST, and North Carolina, where polls close at 7:30 p.m. EST.

At 8 p.m. EST, polls close in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee and most of Texas.

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