Storylines to Watch in Tuesday’s 2016 Presidential Primaries and Republican Caucuses

Here’s what each to look for Tuesday as four states vote.

March 7, 2016, 4:52 PM

— -- Republicans will vote Tuesday in the Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi primaries and the Hawaii Republican caucuses. Democrats in Michigan and Mississippi are also holding their primaries.

In total, 205 delegates are at stake for the two Democratic candidates. On the other side of the aisle, 150 are up for grabs for the four remaining Republican candidates.

Here’s what to look for on Tuesday as voters in four states cast their ballots:


Bernie Is Banking on Michigan

The Democratic primary in Michigan is a delegate jackpot and Bernie Sanders is hoping to pick up more delegates in the Great Lakes State to close the gap between him and Hillary Clinton.

While campaigning in Michigan, Sanders has attacked Clinton with a heavy focus on trade, arguing that Clinton’s support of “disastrous trade deals” has led to job loss in the state.

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision of which candidate stood against corporate America, stood against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” the Vermont senator said at a campaign rally in Traverse City, Michigan, last Friday.

“We think we're going to surprise people here in Michigan,” Sanders said Sunday on ABC News' “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

However, a NBC/WSJ poll conducted in Michigan shows Hillary Clinton with a major lead of 57 percent among Democrats to Sanders’ 40 percent.

Kasich Hopes to Surprise in Michigan

John Kasich, who has yet to win a single state’s Republican primary or caucus, has been campaigning extensively in Michigan, devoting a significant amount of time, money and resources to the state.

Winning in Michigan is essential to the Ohio governor’s strategy and he’s been focused on the Wolverine State since the South Carolina primaries.

"The road to Ohio in this case leads through Michigan," Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver told ABC News in February.

“I can tell you that we are closing the gap,” Kasich said Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “And you will see a better result than what you expect.”


Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle started campaigning in the Magnolia State well before Tuesday's primary.

Will Cruz Trump the Donald’s Deep South Streak?

Marco Rubio and John Kasich have the upper hand in Mississippi as the only two GOP hopefuls with endorsements. The Florida senator is backed by one of the state’s members of the Republican National Committee and former Rep. Chip Pickering. Kasich is supported by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Rep. Gregg Harper and Mississippi’s largest newspaper, the Clarion Ledger.

And yet, a win in the Magnolia State, where 40 delegates are up for grabs, would be more favorable for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is in second place with 300 delegates, closely behind, Trump’s 384.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Spar for Black Vote

For the Democrats, 41 delegates are at stake, and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are focused on securing the black vote, which accounts for nearly 34 percent of the population in Mississippi, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Clinton brought out her big guns, her husband Bill Clinton.

The former president paid a surprise visit to Jackson State University, a historically black college in Jackson, Mississippi, on Thursday.

Hawaii Republican Caucuses

Could There Be Higher Voter Turnout?

So far in this election, voter turnout has reached record highs in several Super Tuesday states. Over 8 million people voted in the Republican Super Tuesday contests.Voter turnout in Hawaii was exceptionally low in the most recent general elections, however if the trend this year continues, the Aloha State could see an uptick in voter turnout.

Also, the GOP caucuses are open to all Hawaii voters with a photo ID. So, if a voter isn’t registered with the Republican Party by Tuesday, he or she can fill out a GOP party card at their caucus location, join Hawaii’s Republican Party, and vote right away.

Idaho Republican Primary

Will Idahoans ‘Give Into the Fear’?

Marco Rubio made a campaign stop in Idaho over the weekend and encouraged supporters to not “give into fear.”

“Do not allow the conservative movement to be defined as anger,” Rubio said Sunday in Idaho Falls, in hopes of attracting last-minute supporters.

The Florida senator, who is endorsed by Idaho Sen. James Risch, hopes to snag all 32 delegates up for grabs in the Gem State and add a third win under his belt.

But he’s not the only candidate getting support out of the Gem State. Ohio Gov. Kasich is backed by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

In the last ten elections, Idaho has backed the eventual general election winner five times.

The Gem State will holds its Democratic caucuses on March 22, 2016.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events