Marco Rubio wins Puerto Rico Republican primary

Posted at 4:29 PM, Mar 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-06 16:58:43-05

Marco Rubio has won Puerto Rico’s Republican primary, CNN projects.

The win, his second campaign victory, gives the Florida senator a boost in a race that increasingly has been dominated by billionaire businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The dominant issue facing the island commonwealth — which has no electoral votes in the U.S. general election — is a public debt crisis, with the government owing $73 billion.

The results of Sunday’s primary are particularly key for Rubio, who campaigned in Puerto Rico on Saturday.

But that stop wasn’t just about Puerto Rico. Rubio’s campaign now largely hinges on taking first place in Florida’s 99-delegate, winner-take-all primary on March 15 — and the state’s Puerto Rican population could help there.

Rubio is trying to prevent Trump and Cruz from running away with the race. Through the first 19 contests, Trump has won 12 states and Cruz six — including two each on Saturday. Rubio, meanwhile, had only won Minnesota. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose state also holds a winner-take-all primary on March 15, is still seeking his first win.

Maine Democrats weigh in

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are squaring off again Sunday as Maine holds its Democratic caucuses.

Sanders could have an advantage in the state: He has already won in New Hampshire and Vermont, two nearby Northeastern states. He also racked up wins in two heavily white states — Nebraska and Kansas — on Saturday, though Clinton won in Louisiana.

The Maine caucuses come ahead of Sunday night’s Democratic debate on CNN. Clinton and Sanders are squaring off in Flint, Michigan — the site of a water crisis that has led both to call for federal involvement — ahead of Michigan’s Tuesday primary.

Lines for the caucuses in Portland stretched at least a quarter mile, and the Maine Democratic Party was forced to make changes to the voting process. It is now allowing people to essentially cast an absentee ballot inside the caucus site instead of physically staying for a caucus count.