Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning.
Tonight's results will likely determine whether the Republican race goes on, or if Donald Trump becomes the prohibitive frontrunner heading into Cleveland -- today's significance to Democrats, however, may have been overlooked by comparison. Having flexed his muscle in MI, Bernie Sanders will look to replicate his win in the analogous states of IL, MO, and OH. Conventional wisdom holds that Hillary Clinton is on track for easy victories in both NC and FL, due in part to overwhelming support among African American voters. If Sanders carries all or a combination of IL, MO, and OH, or scores an upset in FL, the Dem race would face an upheaval and call Clinton's frontrunner status into serious question.
CRUZ SOLDIERS ON:
Trump could run the table in all five states tonight, but Ted Cruz is banking on picking off a state or a sizeable number of delegates tonight, and will continue his campaign no matter the results. With the potential elimination of Marco Rubio and/or John Kasich, Cruz's long-awaited dream of a one-on-one with Trump appears almost at hand. He can afford to look past tonight's votes and is the only one who has made ad buys in post-March 15th states, having already purchased $200,000 worth of airtime in AZ -- but will bump up against Trump, who is sure to benefit from Gov. Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's endorsements in the state. Cruz's team has their sights on sweeping all of the delegates in the closed-caucus state of Utah (March 22nd), and putting WI in play on April 5th. As we've said, the primary calendar gets tough for Cruz from here on out. He's now primarily competing to be the plausible alternative to Trump at a contested convention in Cleveland.
The industrial heartland of Ohio is seeing large numbers of Democrats changing their registration to Republican, with the apparent motivation being Trump's anti-free trade campaign rhetoric. In Mahoning County alone there were over 7,000 early votes cast as of March 3rd, with the Youngstown Vindicator reporting that 14% were Democratic crossovers. This much-discussed shift of blue-collar Dems to Trump would provide him with a major boost across the Rust Belt should it actually materialize.