By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in Alexandria’s 28 precincts on Super Tuesday, both by healthy margins.
But while Clinton went on to clinch victory in Virginia, Rubio finished second in the commonwealth behind Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
Clinton garnered 16,281 votes from the Port City’s 28 precincts, ahead of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 7,008 and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who gained 141 despite having withdrawn from the race.
Meanwhile, Rubio totaled 6,338 votes, beating Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had 3,152, and Trump, who finished third with 2,546. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz finished fourth with 1,036 votes, while Dr. Ben Carson finished last among Republican candidates still in the race with 272. Votes also were cast for eight other candidates who had previously withdrawn.
Clinton’s victory came less than a week after former President Bill Clinton appeared at the Durant Center on her behalf in an event to get out the vote. Before approximately 300 people on February 24, the 42nd president spoke of Clinton’s plans to break down political barriers and her focus on making higher education affordable for all.
He also stated her commitment to raising wages and improving health care, building on the work of President Barack Obama. Clinton also took a swipe at Trump and his pronouncements on the campaign trail that appear to have energized many Republican voters.
“America never stopped being great,” Clinton said. “What we need to do is make America whole again.”
Also stumping for Hillary Clinton that day were U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-11) and Don Beyer (D-8). Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe was also on hand for the festivities.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was among those to vote early at Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy on Election Day, having already campaigned for Clinton in the commonwealth. Warner said he voted for the former secretary of state, arguing she is best suited to face the challenges of both the General Election and the presidency.
“I think she’s experienced, she understands the challenges both domestically and in the world,” Warner said in an interview. “I think she’ll fight for folks, and particularly if Mr. Trump or some of the extremists come up on the [Republican] side, this will be a tough election. We need someone that’s prepared to go into a tough battle, and in many ways this is not only about Virginia and the country, but in many ways about the whole world.”
Warner, who has been floated as a possible running mate for Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination, said her understanding of the issues was key in his decision to support her.
“With me, it’s somebody that understands how we keep the economic recovery going, how we make sure we expand access to affordable higher education, who understands we live in a very dangerous world but we’ve got to have a sophisticated view of how we navigate that world with threats of terrorism, nations like Russia re-emerging on the world stage, China,” Warner said.
“I think Hillary Clinton is best experienced and tough enough to take on the job.”