Trump wins Missouri caucuses and sweeps Michigan convention, with Idaho also voting Saturday

Former President Donald Trump won the Missouri caucuses and swept the delegates at Michigan’s party convention Saturday afternoon, inching his way closer to a formal grasp of the party’s nomination for president.

Idaho was also holding a vote on Saturday. But none of these three state elections were primaries. All were caucuses, which limit turnout by requiring participants to arrive at a specific time and usually to stay for a certain period to participate in a more formal process.

Caucus specifics vary from state to state, but they usually involve hearing speeches and then casting a vote.

The Associated Press called the Missouri caucuses for Trump at 12:40 p.m. ET. Trump also gained the 39 delegates available at Michigan’s convention caucuses, according to the AP. Idaho’s results were expected later Saturday.

Trump has won every single Republican nominating contest since the year began. He will face his only serious remaining challenger, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, in the numerous elections being held March 5, which is known as Super Tuesday.

Saturday’s loss was another indication that Haley faces grim prospects for winning the nomination.

Nikki Haley walks off the stage after speaking at her election-night party in Charleston, South Carolina.Nikki Haley walks off the stage after speaking at her election-night party in Charleston, South Carolina.

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley walks off the stage after speaking in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 24.

Caucuses limited participation

In both Idaho and Missouri, state lawmakers canceled the Republican primary and replaced it with caucuses.

This gave a small percentage of Republicans in the state control over who the party nominates.

The last time Idaho held caucuses instead of a primary, in 2012, only about 45,000 people took part. That was about a fifth of all registered Republicans in the state.

The timing of the caucuses was also an obstacle for many. Idaho, which is split between the Mountain and Pacific time zones, held its caucuses at 12:30 or 1:30 in the afternoon. Missouri held its caucuses at 10 a.m. Central Time.

Michigan’s caucus convention was even more restricted

In Michigan, which held its caucuses at 10 a.m. ET, the average voter couldn’t even take part.

Michigan also held a primary earlier in the week that allocated about a third of that state’s delegates. Trump won that contest easily.

But there was a scheduling conflict between the date set by Michigan’s Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, and rules for the Republican nominating calendar set by the Republican National Committee.

So the Michigan GOP created a hybrid system in which a majority of the state’s 55 delegates are allocated based on a caucus convention.

The caucus convention, being held Saturday, brought together around 2,000 party activists from around the state who were selected at the county level.

A state of confusion

But the confusion in Michigan was made worse when activists last year accused state party chair Kristina Karamo of mismanaging the organization’s finances.

Trump backed a different state party chair, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, as did the Republican National Committee.

Karamo, however, refused to back down and organized a caucus convention of her own, separate from the caucus convention held by Hoekstra and his organization.

Only one day before the two dueling meetings were set to take place, Karamo and her former staff bowed to the pressure from the national party and canceled their competing caucus convention.

Former President Donald Trump, along with several other people, stands onstage at an election night watch party.Former President Donald Trump, along with several other people, stands onstage at an election night watch party.

Trump at an election night watch party in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 24.

Heading into Tuesday

Though the votes might be small, the victories in Missouri and Michigan, plus another potential win in Idaho, give Trump a little more momentum heading into Super Tuesday. Trump’s campaign hopes to wrap up the primary race in the coming weeks — or as soon as Tuesday night, should Haley drop out.

As for staying in the race, Haley has said that March 5 is “as far as I’ve thought in terms of going forward.”

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