Trump, Clinton rule day in Tennessee and Georgia, but Republican nomination perhaps uncertain

Trump, Clinton rule day in Tennessee and Georgia, but Republican nomination perhaps uncertain

March 3rd, 2016 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump watches as Tureano Johnson fights Eamonn O'Kane in an IBF middleweight bout at Madison Square Garden in New York. The U.S. Secret Service says the top two GOP presidential hopefuls have requested protection from the taxpayer-funded agency. The agency says billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have requested Secret Service protection. But they would not receive it until Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson consults with five senior members of Congress. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)

Photo by Rich Schultz

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives to a signing of her book "Hard Choices", Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Ridgewood, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives to a signing of...

Photo by Julio Cortez


Presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump pretty much steamrolled their party competitors Tuesday in most counties across Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.

In Tennessee's Republican primary, billionaire businessman Trump easily claimed the top spot across the board, while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio swapped for second, depending on the county. In the Democratic primary, former first lady and secretary of state Clinton easily dominated Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in all region counties.

Tuesday's primaries held few surprises, said Amanda Wintersieck, assistant professor in the department of political science and public service at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Wintersieck's expertise is American politics.

"I think we saw more or less what we expected to see from yesterday's primary," she said Wednesday.

Clinton and Trump both performed well in the South, as predicted, but the Republican nomination is far from decided while Clinton's Democratic nomination is growing more certain, Wintersieck said.

"I think this really shows the unification of the Democratic party, and we'll begin to see the Democratic primary wrap up," she said. "On the Republican side Trump was expected to do well, particularly in the South, but Cruz and Rubio also took states."

Rubio tends to outperform Cruz in urban areas with highly educated populations, while Trump and Cruz "do well in rural, evangelical areas," Wintersieck said.

Southeast Tennessee's largest counties, Hamilton and Bradley, had the lowest margins of victory for Trump, and Rubio outpaced Cruz for second place in those counties. In more rural Tennessee counties, Trump dominated but Cruz garnered more votes than Rubio. Ben Carson was a constant fourth place in every county but Grundy, where he displaced Rubio for third.

In Northwest Georgia's Democratic primary, Clinton won close victories over Sanders in Catoosa, Dade and Whitfield, while her margin was greater in Chattooga and Walker counties. Statewide, Georgia voters chose Clinton over Sanders 71 percent to 28 percent.

On the Republican side, Trump pounded Rubio and Cruz in all five Northwest Georgia counties. The closest contest with in Whitfield, where the front-runner outdistanced Rubio 5,945 to 2,672. Cruz was just behind Rubio at 2,292. Like Tennessee, Carson was a steady fourth place in the Peach State portion of the Chattanooga region.

Trump's statewide margin of victory was slimmer than Clinton's in Georgia. Trump garnered almost 39 percent of the vote compared with Rubio's 25 percent and Cruz's 23 percent.


As a whole, Tennessee Democrats across the region favored Clinton by 50 percent or more in every county but Polk, where she netted about 48 percent of the vote to Sanders' 31 percent. In Northwest Georgia, Clinton's percentage never dipped below 50 percent and in Chattooga County it was almost 64 percent, compared with Sanders at 34 percent.

In Hamilton County, Democratic voters cast more than 64 percent of ballots for Clinton compared to 34 percent for Sanders.

Clinton's largest margin was in Van Buren County, where she took almost 68 percent of the vote. Meigs County voters gave Clinton just under 64 percent of the primary votes cast there.

Wintersieck said she didn't observe the specific precinct voting tendencies in the three Northwest Georgia counties where Clinton and Sanders were neck and neck, but she said demographics among voters have shown trends in other parts of the country.

"Bernie Sanders has been doing very well among college-educated younger millennials," Wintersieck said. "Hillary Clinton does very well with women and minorities."


Trump trounced his two closest primary opponents by more than 25,000 votes across the region, while Marco Rubio slipped past Ted Cruz by a slim 437-vote margin throughout the 17 Tennessee counties in the Chattanooga area. Rubio was second to Trump in Hamilton County, 14,391 to 16,985, respectively.

In Northwest Georgia, Trump netted lower percentages but easily outpaced Cruz, Carson and Rubio. Trump performed worst in Catoosa among the region's five Northwest Georgia counties with 40 percent of the vote compared with Cruz and Rubio at 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Trump did best in Chattooga County with 51 percent of the vote.

As a percentage, Trump's worst performance in the region was in Hamilton County with a little less than 33 percent of the total ballots cast, and he did his best in Grundy County where he got almost 56 percent.

Ben Carson notched third place in Grundy County, getting past Rubio by eight votes.

"All the media headlines said Trump was the big winner yesterday. This is sort of a misnomer but the analysis has to be deeper than that," Wintersieck said.

The primaries for the Republican candidates will come down to delegate counts.

"The delegate count on the Republican side is nowhere near tied up," Wintersieck said. "In order to become the nominee, you have to have 1,237 delegates.

"Right now, Donald Trump is just over 300, Ted Cruz is just over 200 and Marco Rubio is just over 100. We're a third of the way through voting and nobody has collected a third of the delegates," she said.

Clinton, who could draw Republican voters angry over primaries, now has more than 1,000 delegates compared to Sanders' 408 delegates. A total of 2,383 delegates is needed for the nomination, she said.

Wintersieck said she predicts a prolonged Republican battle that will help the Democrats.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at, @BenBenton or or 423-757-6569.




Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,009

Ted Cruz: 487

Marco Rubio: 285

Ben Carson: 166

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 398

Bernie Sanders: 215

Uncommitted: 27

Martin J. O’Malley: 16


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 6,103

Marco Rubio: 4,066

Ted Cruz: 3,625

Ben Carson: 1,719

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,644

Bernie Sanders: 1,302

Uncommitted: 19

Martin J. O’Malley: 13


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 3,516

Ted Cruz: 2,194

Marco Rubio: 1,307

Ben Carson: 702

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,503

Bernie Sanders: 831

Uncommitted: 44

Martin J. O’Malley: 26


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 5,152

Ted Cruz: 3,064

Marco Rubio: 1,972

Ben Carson: 791

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,312

Bernie Sanders: 888

Uncommitted: 36

Martin J. O’Malley: 33


Donald J. Trump: 3,072

Ted Cruz: 1,448

Marco Rubio: 948

Ben Carson: 556

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,590

Bernie Sanders: 809

Uncommitted: 31

Martin J. O’Malley: 23


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 912

Ted Cruz: 382

Ben Carson: 141

Marco Rubio: 133

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 445

Bernie Sanders: 204

Uncommitted: 26

Martin J. O’Malley: 12


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 16,985

Marco Rubio: 14,391

Ted Cruz: 9,625

Ben Carson: 5,075

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 15,598

Bernie Sanders: 8,411

Uncommitted: 155

Martin J. O’Malley: 60


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 4,198

Marco Rubio: 2,309

Ted Cruz: 2,197

John R. Kasich: 780

Ben Carson: 672

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,026

Bernie Sanders: 638

Martin J. O’Malley: 18

Uncommitted: 13


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,799

Ted Cruz: 690

Marco Rubio: 586

Ben Carson: 271

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,046

Bernie Sanders: 559

Uncommitted: 53

Martin J. O’Malley: 28


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 3,604

Ted Cruz: 2,000

Marco Rubio: 1,551

Ben Carson: 743

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,027

Bernie Sanders: 619

Uncommitted: 26

Martin J. O’Malley: 18


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 946

Ted Cruz: 334

Marco Rubio: 289

Ben Carson: 122

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 354

Bernie Sanders: 162

Uncommitted: 11

Martin J. O’Malley: 7


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 4,079

Ted Cruz: 1,796

Marco Rubio: 1,333

Ben Carson: 619

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,232

Bernie Sanders: 596

Uncommitted: 69

Martin J. O’Malley: 40


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,180

Ted Cruz: 492

Marco Rubio: 311

Ben Carson: 157

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 757

Bernie Sanders: 557

Uncommitted: 221

Martin J. O’Malley: 47


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 2,339

Ted Cruz: 1,127

Marco Rubio: 1,020

Ben Carson: 448

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 503

Bernie Sanders: 331

Uncommitted: 24

Martin J. O’Malley: 15


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,046

Ted Cruz: 437

Marco Rubio: 361

Ben Carson: 199

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 273

Bernie Sanders: 206

Martin J. O’Malley: 4

Uncommitted: 4

Van Buren

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 493

Ted Cruz: 225

Marco Rubio: 90

Ben Carson: 69

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 242

Bernie Sanders: 96

Uncommitted: 11

Martin J. O’Malley: 9


Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 2,273

Ted Cruz: 1,184

Marco Rubio: 792

Ben Carson: 354

Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,318

Bernie Sanders: 671

Martin J. O’Malley: 30

Uncommitted: 30

Tennessee totals


Donald J. Trump: 332,823

Ted Cruz: 211,234

Marco Rubio: 181,059

Ben Carson: 64,855


Hillary Clinton: 245,374

Bernie Sanders: 120,360

Martin J. O’Malley: 2,121

Uncommitted: 3,466



Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,082

Bernie Sanders: 1,026

Michael Steinberg: 13

Martin O'Malley: 11

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 4,449

Ted Cruz: 2,524

Marco Rubio: 2,430

Ben Carson: 1,101


Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 566

Bernie Sanders: 302

Michael Steinberg: 14

Martin O'Malley: 7

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,674

Ted Cruz: 635

Marco Rubio: 523

Ben Carson: 292


Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 241

Bernie Sanders: 230

Michael Steinberg: 7

Martin O'Malley: 1

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 1,151

Marco Rubio: 662

Ted Cruz: 555

Ben Carson: 273


Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,009

Bernie Sanders: 867

Michael Steinberg: 17

Martin O'Malley: 11

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 4,208

Marco Rubio: 2,157

Ted Cruz: 2,102

Ben Carson: 971


Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton: 1,536

Bernie Sanders: 1,307

Michael Steinberg: 19

Martin O'Malley: 19

Republican primary

Donald J. Trump: 5,945

Marco Rubio: 2,672

Ted Cruz: 2,292

Ben Carson: 1,134

Georgia Totals


Donald J. Trump: 501,750

Marco Rubio: 315,989

Ted Cruz: 305,135

Ben Carson: 80,508


Hillary Clinton: 542,907

Bernie Sanders: 214,348

Martin O'Malley: 2,120

Michael Steinberg: 1,757

Source: Secretaries of State in Tennessee and Georgia