--IT’S CALLED SUPER TUESDAY FOR A REASON: Today is the single biggest day of voting in the presidential race until November’s general election. Voters in 12 states and one territory will have a critical say in the course of the rest of the race, ABC’s JENNY HANSLER and PAOLA CHAVEZ note. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will hold primaries for both parties. Alaska will host only a Republican primary; American Samoa, only a Democratic one. In Colorado, there will be caucuses for both parties. However, only the Democrats in that state will be choosing their candidates tomorrow. Colorado Republicans have opted to vote for the delegates who will represent them at the Republican National Convention in July.
--DOING THE DELEGATE MATH: A Republican candidate must receive 1,237 delegates out of the total 2,472 available to be eligible for the nomination. For the Democrats, that number is 2,383 out of the total 4,765 delegates. Today there are 595 delegates at stake for the Republicans--about 20% of the total GOP delegates. 1,015 delegates are up for grabs for the Democrats. ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON has more on what’s at stake today: http://abcn.ws/1WT9Qzo
--CURRENT STANDINGS: There have been election events for both parties in four states--Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. On the GOP side, these are the current delegate counts: Donald Trump: 82 Ted Cruz: 17 Marco Rubio: 16 John Kasich: 6 Ben Carson: 4 For the Democrats, without counting superdelegates, Hillary Clinton has 91 and Bernie Sanders has 65 delegates.
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: What if the voting doesn’t actually sort anything out? For a party establishment desperate to block Donald Trump, Super Tuesday is a nightmare scenario in that even the best-case scenarios for Trump losing a few contests won’t shake the stubborn dynamics of the race. A Ted Cruz win in Texas strengthens his hand, and will likely guarantee him the second-most delegates moving forward. A Marco Rubio win – Arkansas? Minnesota? –would give him a boost and strengthen his resolve to concentrate on Florida’s winner-take-all primary in two weeks. John Kasich is trying to minimize the importance of the day, focusing on Michigan March 8 and Ohio March 15. Oddly, the best scenario for stopping Trump might be a Trump romp; that would clarify the stakes and winnow the field in time – if barely – to get the one-on-one matchup where he might be vulnerable. Of course, that also means handing Trump a massive delegate lead on the single biggest day of voting of the primary season. Short of an across-the-board collapse, the anti-Trump forces don’t have much to look forward to for a while.
TRUMP STARTED HIS DAY ON GMA by brushing off a new poll that indicates he would lose against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, saying he is the “one person” Clinton doesn't want to face. "I haven't even focused on Hillary Clinton," the Republican front-runner told "Good Morning America,” according to ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ. “I can tell you the one person that Hillary Clinton doesn't want to run against is me." In the CNN-ORC poll released Monday, the New York real estate mogul would fall to Clinton, 52-44, while his main rivals, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz, come out ahead of the Democratic front-runner by razor-thin margins. “They’re [Rubio and Cruz] not going to get the nomination,” Trump said. “I will beat Hillary Clinton much more easily than anybody else.” http://abcn.ws/1Riv31z
--BONUS ROUND: TRUMP SAYS 'NOBODY' HAS DONE MORE FOR EQUALITY THAN HIM. Trump also addressed the controversial support from former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, saying he "disavowed" Duke and says he has actually done “so much for equality.” "There's nobody that's done so much for equality as I have," Trump said on "Good Morning America." He added: "You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida. I built the Mar-a-Lago club totally open to everybody. A club that frankly set a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach and I’ve gotten great credit for it." According to its website, Trump’s club is “one of the most important addresses in the world” – a haven for fine dining and outdoor recreation, including swimming, tennis, golf and croquet. The Republican front-runner emphasized to ABC's George Stephanopoulos the club in Palm Beach is "totally open to everybody."
YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ, JENNIFER HANSLER and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
PHOTOJOURNALIST ROUGHED UP AT DONALD TRUMP RALLY IN VIRGINIA. A photographer from Time magazine was roughed up by a Secret Service agent as the press rushed to film protesters at a Donald Trump rally in Virginia today. According to ABC’s CANDACE SMITH, the photographer, Chris Morris, was not arrested and told ABC News the agent put his hands on him first. In a video of the incident, posted to Twitter, the Secret Service agent can be seen slamming Morris to the ground. http://abcn.ws/1plHnHU
DONALD TRUMP ASKS PROTESTER IF SHE’S FROM MEXICO. Donald Trump declined to comment on the recent controversy over former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke during a campaign stop in Virginia today, but he did get into a verbal scuffle with protesters, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH notes. "Are you from Mexico?" Trump asked a young woman at Radford University in Virginia. His supporters were quick to react, booing the woman as she was escorted out. http://abcn.ws/1VNpxrx
THE REASON WHY DOZENS OF LOBBYISTS WILL BE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DELEGATES. Hillary Clinton holds a substantial edge among a particular and little-noticed kind of delegate to the Democratic National Convention: Superdelegates. On July 25, these superdelegates will cast votes at the Democratic National Convention for whomever they want, regardless of primary and caucus outcomes. Democrats like to describe superdelegates as mostly elected officials and prominent party members, including President Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. ABC’S JEFF NAFT has more. http://abcn.ws/1Lrp1ih
HOW RUBIO PLANS ON BEATING TRUMP FOR THE NOMINATION. Speaking to a rowdy crowd of about 7,000 in Kennesaw, Georgia, over the weekend, Marco Rubio made a promise: he’ll do whatever it takes to stop GOP front-runner Donald Trump. “I will campaign as hard as it takes, I will stay in this race as long as it takes,” Rubio told the crowd. “A con artist will never get control of this party.” But the Florida senator won’t say which states he plans to win on Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the primary season. ABC’S INES DE LA CUETARA notes Rubio has yet to win a single state, and critics argue Rubio must win at least one of the 11 Republican states voting on March 1 to remain a viable candidate. Rubio disagrees. http://abcn.ws/1VN6bCK
WHY BEN CARSON IS STILL RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. The question everyone is asking: Why? Why is Ben Carson, the onetime Republican front-runner who is now polling mostly in the single digits, still in the race for the Republican presidential nomination? The campaign cannot say definitively if Carson will continue the race after Super Tuesday, noting that he assesses the race and makes a decision after every state contest.But the campaign insists Carson is not staying in the race to spoil Cruz's chances -- or, as has also been speculated, to help Donald Trump’s candidacy. ABC’S KATHERINE FAULDERS reports has more.http://abcn.ws/1LqUZvj
HILLARY CLINTON SHIFTS STRATEGY TO FOCUS ON DONALD TRUMP. Hillary Clinton made a New Year’s resolution to stop engaging with Donald Trump. But eight weeks later, she appears ready to break her resolution as Clinton and her aides accept that the real estate mogul is most likely the next GOP presidential nominee. As ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports, Clinton’s renewed focus on Trump is a shift in her strategy from the past month, where she had been emphasizing her differences from her Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders. Her new tone is both a sign she’s confident in her path to the nomination and that she acknowledges Trump would likely be her challenger. http://abcn.ws/1oJ0smD
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX
PIVIT ANNOUNCES 4 MILLION PREDICTIONS IN THE 2016 POLITICAL MARKETS HEADING INTO SUPER TUESDAY PRIMARIES. Pivit, the world's largest real-time prediction market, announced Monday it has reached more than 4 million predictions made on its 2016 Political Marketplace, as the nation prepares for the Super Tuesday primary. Pivit also commemorated another milestone Monday-- marking more than 100,000 registered participants actively trading in the political markets during this election season. Pivit has listed markets for all of today’s Super Tuesday primary contests. Participants can register and continuously predict when election odds will change. Pivit tracks and reports real-time market odds to reflect the public consensus about each individual race and political outcome. http://bit.ly/1X7VNGK
@JenniferJJacobs: Team Trump said media lied, "no truth to this whatsoever," but video shows Trump security at Trump rally removed ~30 black silent protesters
@PatrickRuffini: Seeing reports that turnout is much higher in Virginia's Republican primary than on the D side. Open primary state.
@kasie: Ben Folds to perform at Bernie Sanders Super Tuesday rally in Burlington, VT
@thehill: Jesse Ventura hints at White House run if Sanders loses Dem nomination: http://hill.cm/NaIIlKW
@pvolpe: “Shh, I’ve got to get me some Trump” — Clinton campaign manager during first debate. Many voters have felt same. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-general-election.html …