Breaking Down The March 15 Primaries

Mar 16, 2016

In news from Washington, President Obama picked the top judge from the DC Circuit to be the next Supreme Court justice. Merrick Garland is a former federal prosecutor who had been previously been recommended to the president by a leading Republican for openings on the Court. 

In making his announcement, the president urged the Senate to look past the politics of the moment and consider his nominee. GOP leaders in the Senate, including David Perdue of Georgia, a member of the Judiciary Committee, have said that the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia should be appointed by the next president. Will the Senate take up the president’s nominee? What happens if a Democrat wins the presidency in November?                   

And then, there were three. Donald Trump’s near sweep of the most recent round of Republican presidential primaries, including a double digit win in Senator Marco Rubio’s home state of Florida has pared a once unwieldy GOP field of 17 candidates to just three. Only Governor John Kasich’s win in his home state of winner-take-all Ohio prevented what might have been a clean sweep for the frontrunner, virtually locking up the nomination for the Manhattan businessman. Texas senator Ted Cruz took home silver in Illinois and North Carolina and is locked in a tight contest with Trump for the win in Missouri. Rubio’s disappointing finish in the Sunshine State foreshadowed a disappointing night overall as he finished fourth in all other states voting. Rubio suspended his campaign leaving Kasich and Cruz as the only challengers to Trump. Cruz called for Kasich to drop out so that he can take on Trump one-on one. So, who can or will catch and stop Trump? Will any of the remaining Republican candidates amass the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination before the convention in July? And what would a Trump candidacy mean down ballot in November?

On the Democratic side, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had a pretty good night, rolling to double digit wins in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina while winning by a point in her home state of Illinois and maintaining the same lead in Missouri. She now has a 755 delegate lead over Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and is now more than two-thirds of the way to securing the nomination. If Clinton continues to build her lead in coming weeks, how much longer does Sanders stay in the race? What is his motivation to prolong the fight? Who inherits Sanders’ support if and when he decides to end his campaign?

Under the Gold Dome, Governor Deal has asked for changes to the previously approved HB 859, the “campus carry” bill. The governor voiced concerns about the legislation and on campus daycare centers. With only a few legislative days left in the session, is there time to fix it? What if they don’t?

The panel weighs in on all of this and more!   

Panel:

Jim Galloway – AJC Political Insider Blog,

Loretta Lepore – Republican Consultant,

Buddy Darden – Former US Representative, Ga.4th District,

Kevin Riley – Editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution