The Latest: Trump spends big on FL, OH, before March 15 vote


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on campaign 2016 (all times Eastern Standard Time):

12:40 p.m.

Donald Trump is spending some of his biggest money yet on campaign ads ahead of winner-take-all contests next week in Florida and Ohio.

He plans to spend about $2 million on Florida TV commercials and $1 million in Ohio by March 15, the day of the vote, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG. Trump’s campaign has also reserved about half a million dollars in TV time in Michigan, where voters go to the polls on Tuesday.

Overall, Trump – a master of free publicity – is on track to spend about $15 million in the primary race, CMAG shows. That’s a few million dollars less than Rubio, who has won far fewer contests than Trump, and a few million dollars more than Cruz, who so far has been Trump’s closest competitor.

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11:30 a.m.

The latest count of absentee and early voters in Florida is showing that more than 571,000 Republicans have already cast their ballots for next week’s crucial winner-take-all primary.

Just over 1 million Floridians have cast their ballots, according to University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith, who tracks and analyzes early voting data. So far, he says, GOP voters outnumber Democratic voters by about 109,000.

Among Republicans, said Smith, 86 percent are white and 11 percent are Hispanic. Among Democrats, 68 percent are white, 19 percent are black and 10 percent are Hispanic.

Florida is a closed primary, meaning only party members can vote in their respective primary.

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