The AP has called Arizona for Donald Trump. While that shouldn’t come as a surprise—Trump was heavily favored to win and the Cruz campaign conceded as much—Marco Rubio (or perhaps the ghost of Marco Rubio) had a part to play tonight.
Call it Rubio’s revenge, but the early voting in the Arizona Republican primary suggests that the Florida senator influenced tonight’s result. Trump has 45 percent of the vote, more than doubling Cruz, who’s running second with 20 percent. What’s most surprising, however, is that Rubio is running a close third with 18 percent. (Remember when Rubio would have won a primary by finishing third with 18 percent of the vote? Those were the days!)
Yes, 18 + 20 is still less than 45 and Cruz had a very, very slim chance of winning in Arizona, but early voting is absolutely killing Cruz tonight in the state. Call it the GOP’s night of the living dead:
While the concept of early voting in a primary, which is inherently dynamic, seems silly, the Arizona primary might have been a nightmare without it. Arizona, like the other states voting tonight, is struggling to deal with high voter turnout.