The Note: What Mini-Tuesday Meant

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NOTABLES

--ANALYSIS -- RICK KLEIN: Ohio just might have stirred something up that can only be settled back in Ohio. But it’s the chaos before Republicans convene this summer in Cleveland that could be working in Donald Trump’s favor until then. In the meantime, Trump’s march to the nomination continues. Tuesday’s split decision leaves the front-runner again walking away with the biggest prize and the largest share of delegates. Trump has vanquished yet another opponent, trouncing Marco Rubio in Florida, and continuing a dominant showing across demographic groups and issue areas. “America is in the middle of a real political storm,” Rubio said in exiting the race. “We should have seen this coming.” As Rubio notes, the storm isn’t over. John Kasich’s first victory, not to mention Ted Cruz’s continued ability to accrue delegates, mean that Trump will have to fight for victory all the way through the spring -- and, yes, perhaps right through the Republican National Convention in July. http://abcn.ws/1Xu0nyK

--TRUMP'S PATH STAYS CLEAREST; CLINTON'S, PERHAPS MORE SO: This much came clear in the March 15 presidential primaries: Many voters like Donald Trump, while many others don’t. John Kasich is popular in his home state, while Marco Rubio isn’t. Strong conservatives support Ted Cruz. And Hillary Clinton can win Midwestern primaries. For Clinton, that might be enough, or close to it. For the Republicans, it might not; where that contest heads next remains what it was Tuesday morning: anybody’s guess, albeit with Trump’s path the clearest. Here’s a rundown of the night’s exit poll results, courtesy of ABC’s GARY LANGER, WITH GREGORY HOLYK, CHAD KIEWIET DE JONGE, JULIE PHELAN, MARGARET TYSON AND SOFI SINOZICH: http://abcn.ws/1Rkcekt

--EXIT POLL ANALYSIS. The ABC ANALYSIS DESK has more on the Republican exit poll results: http://abcn.ws/1MkU3Uj and on the Democratic exit poll results: http://abcn.ws/1MkUiih

--CLINTON: ‘THIS IS ANOTHER SUPER TUESDAY FOR OUR CAMPAIGN.’ Hillary Clinton addressed her supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida, last night after she was projected to win the Democratic primaries in three Mini Super Tuesday states, telling the crowd, "This is another Super Tuesday for our campaign." According to ABC’s EMILY SHAPIRO, Clinton was projected to win Florida, Ohio and North Carolina ahead of her speech. Clinton said she'll end Tuesday night with at least a 300 delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. "We are moving closer to securing the Democratic party nomination and winning this election in November," she said to cheers. "Tonight it's clearer than ever that this may be one of the most consequential campaigns of our lifetimes," Clinton said. http://abcn.ws/1R1Cj2e

--TRUMP: ‘WE HAVE TO BRING OUT PARTY TOGETHER’. At a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida, last night, Donald Trump told the crowd, "This was an amazing evening -- this was a great evening. ABC News projects Trump won GOP primaries in Illinois, Florida and North Carolina. "Florida was so amazing," Trump said. He also gave a shout-out to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, saying "The Northern Mariana Islands have been so incredible," ABC’s DAVID CAPLAN reports. http://abcn.ws/1U62oU8

 

YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ

RUBIO SUSPENDS 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Marco Rubio announced he is suspending his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday night after a projected loss in the Florida primary. Despite pre-primary polls that showed him trailing Donald Trump in the state, which he represents in the U.S. Senate, Rubio predicted he would “shock the country” and win Florida’s 99 delegates, ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ, VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and INES DE LA CUETARA report. That did not happen. ABC News projected Trump will win Florida's GOP primary, based on analysis of the vote. “After tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio told supporters in Miami. http://abcn.ws/1U5QsSg

NOTED: WHAT RUBIO’S FORMER RIVALS ARE SAYING ABOUT HIS 2016 EXIT. After a decisive defeat on his home turf of Florida at the hands of Donald Trump, Marco Rubio suspended his bid for the Republican nomination on Tuesday night. In the aftermath of the announcement, some of the Florida senator’s one-time rivals have weighed in on the first-term senator’s 11-month campaign. Perhaps most surprisingly, Donald Trump, who once referred to Rubio by such nicknames as “Little Marco” and “choke artist,” congratulated Rubio during his victory speech. ABC’s CARLY ROMAN has more on what his other former rivals had to say about Rubio. http://abcn.ws/1U67EHq

CRUZ CASTS PRESIDENTIAL RACE AS A 2-PERSON FIGHT WITH TRUMP. Though by the time Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spoke in Houston tonight he had yet to claim a win in any of the five states where voters went to the polls, he sought to cast the Republican nominating contest as a two-person race. “Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination: Ours and Donald Trump's,” Cruz told supporters. “Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.” ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and MICHAEL FALCONE note, in his remarks, Cruz ignored Kasich, who was able to pick up a win in the delegate-heavy Buckeye State, where he serves as governor. He did, however, have some kind words for his former rival, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who suspended his presidential campaign earlier in the evening. http://abcn.ws/1R1MHqG

2/3 OF GOP NON-TRUMP SUPPORTERS SAY THEY’D VOTE FOR 3RD PARTY IN ELECTION. In a sign of anti-Trump sentiment among some Republicans on Mini Super Tuesday, almost two-thirds of non-Trump supporters said they would vote for a third party if Donald Trump were to win the GOP nomination, according to preliminary exit poll data. Just over half of Republican voters in five states said they'd be happy if Trump were the candidate chosen to run against Hillary Clinton in the general election, but four in 10 voters said they would seriously consider voting for a third-party candidate. ABC’s JULIA JACOBO also notes about six in 10 of non-Trump supporters said they would seriously consider voting for a third party if he wins the GOP nomination. http://abcn.ws/1U5Gh0b

SANDERS DOING SOMETHING ‘RADICAL’ IN POLITICS: ‘TELLING THE TRUTH’. After Bernie Sanders was projected to lose the first three of the five Mini Super Tuesday states to Hillary Clinton, he focused on his own campaign in a speech to supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday night, saying his campaign has "defied all expectations." "We started this campaign at 3 percent in the national polls," Sanders said to his supporters. "We have come a long way in 10 months. And the reason that we have done as well as we have, the reason that we have defied all expectations, is that we are doing something very radical in American politics -- we are telling the truth. ABC’s EMILY SHAPIRO has more. http://abcn.ws/1U5ZIG2

KASICH: ‘WE’RE GONNA GO ALL THE WAY TO CLEVELAND’. A very grateful Ohio Gov. John Kasich thanked his supporters for helping him nab a big win in his home state of Ohio. ABC News projected Kasich will win the primary in the Buckeye State earlier in the evening. “To have people believe in you and to believe that you can bring people together and strengthen our country, I have to thank the people of the great state of Ohio,” Kasich said, beaming. “I love you is all I can tell you. I love you.” ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ and JEFF NAFT note Kasich also acknowledged former presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for his "great effort.". http://abcn.ws/1U60ToQ

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

CLINTON WEIGHS IN ON POTENTIAL BATTLE WITH TRUMP: ‘I’VE BEEN STANDING UP TO BULLIES MY ENTIRE LIFE’.  Hillary Clinton weighed in on what a potential matchup between her and Donald Trump would look like in a general election, saying she is “not a bit” concerned about the personal attacks he might wage. “Look, I’ve been standing up to bullies my entire life on the international stage, on the national stage,” Clinton told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega Tuesday after making a surprise campaign stop at a Dunkin' Donuts in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I believe that I will run a campaign that is about the future of this country, to break down the barriers that stand in the way of individual Americans being successful.” ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ has more. http://abcn.ws/21u8Q5W

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@CandaceSmith: .@realDonaldTrump on Fox & Friends announces he won't be at the upcoming debate. Says nobody told him about it, already committed

@HotlineJosh: A Kasich-Cruz debate in Utah... can't imagine that would get many viewers.

@markzbarabak: If it wasn't Trump, GOP would be embracing its front-runner. Underlying latest wins are reasons that hasn't happened http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-gop-primaries-20160315-story.html …

@business: Anti-Trump groups bet big on Marco Rubio and came up short on Tuesday http://bloom.bg/1pnwDIG 

‏@ryanstruyk: Bottom lines from tonight: - Door still open for Trump to hit 1,237 but more hurdles to clear - Clinton lead virtually insurmountable