Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump easily won New Mexico’s GOP primary on Tuesday — but if early results hold, lots of voters instead cast ballots for candidates who have already dropped out of the race, indicating that the party is anything but unified.
Early and incomplete statewide results showed Trump winning the votes of 73 percent of Republicans who voted in the primary, while 27 percent voted for former candidates instead. That’s almost 13,000 out of almost 46,000 votes tallied so far that went to people other than Trump.
Ted Cruz had 12 percent of the vote and John Kasich had 8 percent, according to the early results.
Matt Robinson, a school board member in Deming, was among those who voted for Trump on Tuesday.
“Not my first choice by any means, but I think he’s got a chance to beat Hillary,” Robinson said. “I don’t agree with all of his ideas, but I think he will put America first and he’s not a typical politician.”
Robinson said he’s appreciates Trump’s “honesty and attitude” and doesn’t think he’s racist. He asked Republicans who voted for others on Tuesday to “look further into issues before taking headlines at face value.”
Not all agree. Deb Darby of Albuquerque said she voted in Tuesday’s GOP primary but left the presidential question on her ballot blank “because I don’t think my vote carries any weight.” And Lee Sultemeier of Corona voted Tuesday, but only in local and state races.
“The presidential race is a really bad joke,” Sultemeier said. “None of the candidates still running have the qualities needed to run this country.”
Donna Duerre of Rio Rancho didn’t vote at all in the primary. Duerre, a Republican, said she plans to vote for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson in November, “because he has the fiscal conservative values I share and the progressive social values I live.”
If New Mexico had open primaries, Duerre said she would have voted on Tuesday for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, “for many of the same reasons I like Johnson.”
“Gary has pledged to adopt many of the platform items of Bernie’s campaign and I like that idea,” Duerre said. “I think if he can draw enough Sanders supporters, he has a real shot at this election.”
The division revealed in New Mexico by the Republican primary vote comes on a day when many national GOP leaders denounced Trump for calling into question the impartiality of a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage. Trump claimed Tuesday that his comments about the judge had been misconstrued.
The numbers in this article have been updated as results have been released.