CNN: With 65% returns: Trump 212,642, 46.6. Cruz 103,164, 22.6. Kasich, 45,478, 10. Maricopa County (Phoenix) with 45%: Trump 129,070 (46%) Cruz 58,699 (21%). Marco Rubio (15%) dropped out on 3/15/16, but received 70,551 (67% returns)
3/23/16, "Trump wins big in Arizona," Politico, Shane Goldmacher
The real estate mogul led by a huge margin in early results, with 46 percent of the vote to Ted Cruz's 22 percent, and Trump quickly took to Twitter to celebrate. "Much bigger win than anticipated in Arizona. Thank you, I will never forget!" he said.
But they are still significant in helping define whether anti-Trump forces within the Republican Party still have a shot to stop him at a contested convention. Utah offers all 40 of its delegates to any candidate that can top 50 percent, a threshold Cruz is hoping to cross.
Trump entered Tuesday with 680 of the 1,237 delegates he needed to secure the nomination before the GOP convention in Cleveland. He now has 738, nearly 60 percent of the total he needs. Cruz lagged more than 250 delegates behind, with 424, and John Kasich was a distant third, with 143. Kasich has already been mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination outright....
Heading into the contests on Tuesday, Trump had been favored in Arizona and Cruz in Utah.
During a press conference in Washington D.C. on Monday, Trump was bullish on his chances in Arizona, where he predicted a “big night,” but less so on Utah, where he said only, “I think we’ll do fine.”
The result was a disappointment for a Cruz team that had been pulling for an Arizona upset. Cruz had added a last-minute stop on Sunday outside a church near Phoenix, the state’s largest media market.
Cruz's campaign manager, Jeff Roe, on Tuesday night warned that the overall results from Arizona were misleading because of heavy early voting. He said the election day totals would be more indicative of the current state of the race. "At the risk of going full Rove here, stay tuned to AZ. We will lose but not anywhere close to current margin and watch election day vote %," Roe tweeted.
In Utah, the crucial number to watch is 50 percent. If Cruz tops that threshold, he would win each of the state’s 40 delegates. But Kasich has campaigned in the state in the closing days and bought television ads, as well, hoping to win a share of the delegates for himself.
The move has frustrated some anti-Trump forces because if Kasich helps keep Cruz below 50 percent it would likely be to Trump’s benefit. Then every candidate who received at least 15 percent of the vote would win delegates.
And each delegate Trump wins brings him closer to the magic 1,237 number.
After Arizona and Utah, only one state — Wisconsin — votes in the next 27 days, magnifying the impact of the outcomes in those contests for nearly a month....
The two states also represented the first contests since Marco Rubio dropped out of the race on March 15, and an early test of how his supporters will divide themselves among Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Rubio has called Cruz the only “true conservative” left in the contest but stopped short of endorsing him.
But complicating matters in Arizona is that the state has among the most robust early-voting programs in the country. As much as half the expected turnout had actually cast their ballots before Rubio even withdrew from the race.
It’s one of the reasons the Cruz campaign has tried to downplay expectations in the state, even though its haul of 58 winner-take-all delegates is the third-largest of the nominating calendar so far, after only Florida and Ohio.
The Arizona turnout was expected to set records. As of Monday, in Maricopa County, the state’s largest, turnout was already nearly equal to the total turnout in the 2012 GOP primary."...
Image: Sat., March 19, 2016, "Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni"
article, 3/22/16, "Trump, Clinton win Arizona on big night in the West," Reuters, Steve Holland, via streetinsider.com
Above, 3/19/16, Trump speaks in Arizona, Getty, via Daily Mail