Republican frontrunner Donald Trump scored convincing victories in the Michigan and Mississippi presidential primaries to regain momentum in the face of the party establishment’s concerted efforts to trip him.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton also won a decisive victory in the party’s Mississippi primary Tuesday but was locked in a tight contest with her self-styled Democratic Socialist opponent Bernie Sanders in Michigan.
Trump, who has scored 14 victories in 21 contests so far set at rest doubts raised about his popularity among angry Republican voters after Kansas and Maine favoured rival Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Saturday.
Cruz has won six states to date, while establishment favourite Marco Rubio has won just two and Ohio Governor John Kasich has yet to notch a win.
As if to answer critics like the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has mounted a major effort to derail him calling him “a phony and a fraud” and not a very successful businessman, Trump used products like Trump water, Trump wine and Trump steaks as props as he celebrated his twin victories Tuesday.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had so many horrible, horrible things said about me in one week — $38 million worth of horrible lies, but that’s okay,” he said at a news conference in Jupiter, Florida noting the efforts to take him down have not been successful.
“It shows you how brilliant the public is, because they knew they were lies,” he said.
Kasich, at an election night rally in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated his stronger-than-expected finish in Michigan and reiterated his confidence that he’ll win his home state of Ohio next Tuesday.
“We’re all familiar with March Madness, and now the home-court advantage is coming north. And next week we’re going to win the state of Ohio,” he said to cheers.
On the Democratic side, Clinton praised the campaigns she and Sanders have been running while she slammed the divisiveness in the Republican race.
“Running for president shouldn’t be about delivering insults, it should be about delivering results for the American people,” she told supporters in Cleveland, Ohio.
Sanders, meanwhile, held an election night rally in Florida, which also holds its primary next Tuesday, where 246 delegates are at stake.
“Next Tuesday here in Florida, let’s show the world… let’s show the world that democracy is alive and well with a yuge voter turnout. Yuge!” Sanders told his supporters imitating Trump.
“The political revolution is strong in every part of the country and frankly we believe that our strongest areas have yet to happen,” he said.