Trump Wins Republican Presidential Primary in Arkansas

Mar 1, 2016

Donald Trump speaking in Little Rock last month at Barton Coliseum.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in Arkansas. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were battling for second place. 

Trump visited Arkansas on Saturday as part of a swing the so-called "SEC Primary" states. Twelve states set elections or caucuses for Tuesday, including five with Southeastern Conference sports teams.

The GOP front-runner relied on name recognition to pick up a large portion of the 37 delegates at stake. Cruz visited the state several times to drum up support among conservative Christians, while advertisements touting Rubio portrayed him as someone who could defeat a Democratic candidate in the fall.

In addition to the 37 delegates allotted Tuesday, Arkansas Republicans have three superdelegates, who can vote as they please.

Meanwhile establishment Republicans in Arkansas seem to be accepting the likelihood of Trump winning the party's nomination.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, who easily survived a party challenge Tuesday, said he'll support Donald Trump in the November election if the billionaire and reality television star is the Republican presidential nominee.

Boozman said he believed Trump would be a better president than Democrats Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Boozman defeated North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman in Tuesday's primary in Arkansas.

Boozman says he's not concerned about being linked to incendiary remarks Trump has made. Boozman had backed former Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential bid, but did not endorse anyone else after Huckabee exited the race last month.

Boozman faces former federal prosecutor Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger, in the general election. Boozman says he's confident he'll win re-election in the fall.