Voters Pick Trump, Clinton In North Carolina Presidential Primary

Voters Pick Trump, Clinton In North Carolina Presidential Primary

9:29am Mar 16, 2016
Voters waited in a long line at the Legends polling site near Appalachian State University in Boone during Tuesday's primary. Several young voters say they were confused about out of precinct voting and same-day voter registration.

Tuesday was a big night for political frontrunners in the Tar Heel State, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won their respective party primaries. 

Trump clinched the state's Republican race with a little over 40 percent of the vote, a win supporters hope will convince the party to rally around him. Clinton won out over Democratic rival Bernie Sanders with more than 54 percent of the vote.

Despite polls predicting a double-digit victory for Trump, the race was pretty close. Ted Cruz spent most of the evening within striking distance, with just a few percentage points separating them.  

Ultimately, Trump kept his lead. Supporters here say they are drawn to Trump because of his stance on the economy, national security and immigration.

Clayton Burgess attended a Trump rally in Hickory on Monday. The Navy veteran says he's all-in for the candidate.

“The reason I support Trump is that he’s taking a firm stand to make the country safer and has a plan for illegal immigration," Burgess said. "He’s got a macho style about him and that’s what we need – someone who will stand up and stand up for us.”

Albemarle resident Madison Gill says she voted for Marco Rubio. She’s disappointed that he lost, but she’ll throw her support behind Trump in November if he gets the GOP nomination.

“I’ve thought about that a lot and I probably will. I think he’s very extreme in some aspects,” says Gill. “But especially with economic and business ties, I think he would be very good, so I would probably carry that over and vote for Trump.”

So far, Trump is leading in the delegate race for the Republicans. He also scored wins in Florida and Illinois on Tuesday.

In Tuesday's Democratic races, Clinton won her party’s primary in four states, including North Carolina. While Clinton lead in the delegate count leading up to this week, many pundits wondered if Bernie Sanders was gaining steam after a surprise win in Michigan.

Triad-area Sanders supporters gathered at Hoots Roller Bar in Winston-Salem to watch the returns. Among them was Winston-Salem resident Blake Stewart, who supports Sanders and worked on his campaign. While he's disappointed in Sanders' North Carolina showing, he says he'll get behind whoever the eventual nominee is.

“Oh absolutely, yeah. I definitely like to think of myself as an independent, but the Democratic nominees, by and large, I support – both in presidential and down-ticket races," Stewart said. "So yeah, I’m going to go ahead and put full support behind Democrats.”

Since North Carolina splits convention delegates proportionally, Clinton ended up winning 59, while Sanders picked up 45. She now leads Sanders by more than 300 pledged delegates.

The primaries move on to Arizona, Idaho and Utah next week.

*You can follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news.

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