Official Portrait

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won 10 delegates in the D.C. Republican primary. (Courtesy Photo)

While billionaire Donald Trump may be winning primaries in many states, he came up significantly short compared to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the District Republican primary. 

Rubio edged past Kasich in the March 12 primary at the Loews Madison Hotel in downtown D.C. With a total of 2,839 voters, Rubio had 37.3 percent of the vote to Kasich’s 35.54 percent with Trump falling way behind with 13.77 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bringing up the rear at 12.36 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Dr. Ben Carson each got less than one percent of the vote, even though they were long gone from the race. 

The results mean that 10 delegates to the Republican National Convention, to take place from July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio, will be pledged to Rubio. Kasich will have nine and the three District members of the Republican National Committee, who are automatic delegates – Jill Homan, Jose Cunningham and Bob Kabel – are likely to support Rubio because he was the top vote getter. 

Black delegates elected to represent the District in Cleveland are Rich Counts, Laurent Crenshaw, and Jennifer Higgins. Six percent of District voters are Republicans. The city has never supported a Republican candidate for president since 1964, when the 23rd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted the District the right to vote in national elections. Political experts and District historians say the city’s Black population and the progressive bent of its Whites are why it’s a Democratic stronghold. 

Herbert Harris, a resident of Ward 7, waited almost 50 minutes in line to vote for Kasich and was one of the few Blacks casting a ballot. He said the former Ohio U.S. representative has the qualifications and experience to be president. “Gov. Kasich has legislative experience and he understands how Washington works” Harris said. “He has years of experience on Capitol Hill. He is mature and understands what is expected of a president.”

While Trump got no delegates from the D.C. Republican Party, he has a supporter in African American Amone Banks, a resident of Ward 5 and a former Democrat. “I like his ideas about bringing jobs back to the U.S.,” Banks said. “I also like what he says because he takes a strong stance on issues, is funding his own campaign, and not beholden to special interests. My wife disagrees with me and we argue, but I’m with Trump.” 

Georgetown University student Ra’Mond Hines wants Cruz to live in the White House next. “I agree with him on a number of issues such as the Constitution should be interpreted strictly and his ideas on controlling immigration,” Hines, a member of the university’s College Republican Club, said. “Blacks should consider voting for Cruz because he will support small businesses and he will dialogue with the Black Lives Matter movement.”