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Rubio, Sanders win state’s caucuses

Updated: April 12, 2016 - 10:50 am

Bernie Sanders won a decisive victory in the state’s DFL caucuses on Tuesday and Marco Rubio won the state’s GOP caucuses — bucking trends elsewhere in the country on Super Tuesday.

Overall, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the majority of the states holding Democratic primaries and caucuses Tuesday while Republican candidate Donald Trump claimed most of the Republican states.

Clinton won victories in seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. Besides Minnesota, Sanders prevailed in Colorado, Oklahoma and Vermont.

Trump chalked up victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma and Texas. Rubio’s sole victory was in Minnesota.

Turnout was massive at caucuses in Minneapolis and throughout the state — on pace to surpass turnout in 2008, another record-breaking year. In Minneapolis, especially high turnout was reported at precincts near the U of M and in South Minneapolis with many first time caucus-goers participating.

Sanders had nearly 61 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 38 percent in the DFL presidential preference poll, according to the latest update on the Secretary of State’s website. Rubio, meanwhile, had 36 percent of the votes in the Republican caucuses, followed by Cruz with 29 percent and Trump 21 percent.

Turnout for the state’s Republican caucuses was more than 115,000, according to the Republican Party of Minnesota — 75 percent higher than its previous record turnout in 2008.

In state Senate Districts 59-63, which include Minneapolis neighborhoods and portions of first-ring suburbs, 4,927 people voted in Republican caucuses. Rubio led with 2,618 votes followed by Cruz with 921 votes, according to turnout results posted on the Secretary of State website.

The DFL turnout for Minneapolis-area state Senate Districts was nearly 50,000. Sanders had a substantial lead in the presidential poll with 33,159 votes compared to Clinton’s 16,500. Overall, more than 200,000 people turned out for DFL caucuses around the state.

Dr. Jill Stein won the state’s Green Party presidential straw poll at caucuses with 84 percent of the vote.

Sanders fired up 2,000 supporters during a campaign event at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Monday — one day before political parties in the state held caucuses to endorse candidates.

Sanders also outlined what he considers key differences between his record and campaign and that of his political rival Clinton.

He criticized former Secretary of State Clinton for raking in millions in campaign cash from super PACs, Wall Street and fossil fuel industries while he has relied on small donations averaging about $27 per contribution. He’s received more than $4 million in campaign contributions.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, also singled out his opposition to the Iraq war and trade deals, like NAFTA, as key differences between him and Clinton.

Clinton also made stops in Minneapolis on Tuesday, including a tour at the Midtown Global Market with Mayor Betsy Hodges, Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who are all backing her campaign. No major rallies were scheduled, however. Republican candidate Marco Rubio also visited the state on Super Tuesday with an appearance in Andover.

In a post on her Facebook page Wednesday, Hodges wrote: “First, to my Republican friends: *thank you* for putting Trump in third place in MN. Just… thank you. Second, congratulations to Senator Sanders and his supporters for your win in MN last night. Nicely done. And third, congratulations to Secretary Hillary Clinton for your seven Super Tuesday victories! Onward!”

Sanders also took aim at Trump whose campaign continues to gain steam during his stop in Minneapolis.

“If folks come out here in Minnesota and we do well in future primaries and caucuses in the coming weeks and months, we can win the Democratic nomination,” Sanders said. “And if that happens, there’s nothing more I’d love to do than run against Donald Trump.”

He criticized Trump’s economic policies and mocked him for his denial of climate change and for calling it a “hoax created by the Chinese.”

Sanders also announced opposition to two proposed oil pipeline projects that would impact Minnesota — Enbridge’s Sandpiper and Alberta Clipper pipelines.

The Vermont senator also condemned Trump’s treatment of Mexicans and Muslim Americans.

“Bringing our people together trumps divisiveness,” he said.

Before Sanders’ speech, several local leaders, including City Council Member Lisa Bender (Ward 10), state Rep. Frank Hornstein, environmentalist Winona LaDuke and Congressman Keith Ellison stumped for Sanders and urged people to turn out to the caucuses to support Sanders and tell their friends and family members to do the same.

Sanders also made a stop in Minneapolis on Feb. 12, speaking at an event on issues facing the black community sponsored by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change at Patrick Henry High School.