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Trump Easily Wins West Virginia, Nebraska GOP Primaries; Sanders Wins W.V. For Dems

CHARLESTON, W.V. (CBSNewYork/CBS News) -- Donald Trump easily won the West Virginia and Nebraska Republican primaries with no remaining opposition Tuesday, while Bernie Sanders won West Virginia for the Democrats.

Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. in West Virginia. Trump won easily over Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who both dropped out of the race last week, but remained on the ballot.

Polls closed at 9 p.m. in Nebraska, and Trump was also declared the winner there.

Trump picked up 36 delegates available in Nebraska's Republican presidential primary, giving him 89 percent of the delegates needed to win the GOP's nomination for president.

Trump issued tweets thanking both states he won on Tuesday.

Republican voters in West Virginia said that the most important issue facing the country is the economy and jobs, CBS News reported. Government spending and the economy top the list in Nebraska for Republican primary voters.

Earlier, Cruz had left the door open to the notion of restarting his campaign if he won Nebraska -- an outcome that did not materialize.

In an interview on Glenn Beck's radio program hosted by The Blaze, the Texas senator was asked if he would consider restarting his campaign if Nebraska's Republican voters miraculously chose him on Tuesday as their preferred GOP nominee.

"Well, I am not holding my breath. My assumption is that will not happen," he said on his way to the airport to head back to Washington. "But listen, let's be very clear -- if there is a path to victory, we launched this campaign intending to win. The reason we suspended the race last week is with Indiana's loss, I didn't see a viable path to victory. If that changes, we will certainly respond accordingly."

Cruz was back in Washington on Tuesday, but he said again that his campaign was only suspended.

"Listen, we have suspended the campaign. We have suspended the campaign because I can see no viable path to victory. Of course, if that changed we would reconsider things," he said.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, there was no word on any endorsement from Cruz for Trump, who said he is now narrowing his list of running mates to five or six possibilities. No business moguls are on his list, he said, but rather, heavy-hitting political leaders.

This week, Trump named New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie chairman of his transition team to the White House. When asked in an interview with the Associated Press if that ruled out Christie as a possible running mate, Trump sad, "No, not at all."


For the Democrats, Sanders captured 50 percent of the vote in West Virginia to 40 percent for Hillary Clinton, but his victory does little to slow Clinton's march to their party's nomination. Still, he was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.

"With our victory tonight in West Virginia, we have now won primaries and caucuses in 19 states," Sanders said.

Sanders released a statement noting that West Virginia had produced a landslide vote for Clinton over President Barack Obama in 2008.

"West Virginia is a working class state and many of the people there are hurting," Sanders said in the statement. "They know, like most Americans, that it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. They want real change."

Exit poll data indicated that Sanders was getting the majority of support of both men and women in exit poll data. About a third of Democratic primary voters are independents, compared with 18 percent in 2008.

Sanders ran strong with independents, getting about seven out of 10 voters, CBS News reported.

Three in ten West Virginia Democratic primary voters say someone in their household works in the coal industry, and of them almost two-thirds are backing Sanders.

Experience remains a strength for Clinton. She is getting the support of three-quarters of voters who want a candidate with right kind of experience, compared with just 24 percent for Sanders.

In a curious poll, 44 percent of Sanders voters said they would choose Republican Trump in the general election, compared with just 26 percent who chose Clinton and 27 percent who chose neither. But CBS News analysts noted that many registered Democrats in West Virginia tend toward the conservative and vote Republican in general elections.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Sanders looked ahead to the California primary, speaking to supporters from his campaign organizing office in Oakland.

"California, largest state in our country, more delegates than any other state -- it is absolutely imperative that we do very well here and we can do very well," Sanders said.

Clinton spent her day campaigning in Kentucky and focused on families struggling with health care. She also took aim at Trump's stance on wages.

"I think with somebody like Donald Trump, you would see a race to the bottom across our country with working families paying the price," she said.

Clinton also won the Democratic primary in Nebraska, but the victory does not get her any closer to clinching her party's nomination.

Nebraska allocated all 25 of its delegates to this summer's Democratic National Convention in a caucus held on March 5 that was won by the Vermont senator.

He took home 15 delegates from that caucus, while Clinton won 10.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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