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Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich pumps his fist before speaking at his presidential primary election night rally in Berea, Ohio, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. His wife, Karen, waves to supporters. Kasich won the Ohio primary. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich pumps his fist before speaking at his presidential primary election night rally in Berea, Ohio, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. His wife, Karen, waves to supporters. Kasich won the Ohio primary. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Latest: Kasich endorsed by senator who had backed Rubio

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on the race for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations a day after critical primaries in five states (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

John Kasich is picking up the endorsement of Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who previously backed Marco Rubio.

Inhofe says in a statement released by the Kasich campaign that he is backing the Ohio governor because he has a proven record of delivering results.

Inhofe says Kasich’s optimistic campaign is “refreshing” and calls Kasich a man his word.


6:30 p.m.

A North Carolina sheriff has suspended five deputies for their actions at a Donald Trump rally in which a black man being escorted from the event was allegedly assaulted by a white man in attendance.

A statement from Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler on Wednesday said three deputies were demoted and suspended without pay for five days. Two other deputies were suspended for three days without pay, and all five were put on probation for 12 months.

Butler launched an investigation after a video showed a man with a cowboy hat hitting a black man being led from the Fayetteville arena by deputies March 9. Officials said the deputies had their eyes on the stairs when the man was hit.

Authorities charged a 78-year-old man with assault and disorderly conduct.


5:00 p.m.

Exit polls from Tuesday’s primaries are suggesting that Democratic voters aren’t willing to embrace the leftward shift that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is pitching for the nation.

Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton won four of the five states that voted Tuesday, with Missouri still too close to call. In all five states, at least half of the Democratic voters said they preferred to maintain President Barack Obama’s policies.

No more than a third of voters in any of the Democratic primaries said they preferred a more liberal trajectory.

That dynamic suggests that Sanders faces an uphill battle as he tries to narrow the delegate gap. Clinton now leads by more than 300 pledged delegates.

Among Republicans, front-runner Donald Trump continues to dominate among voters who describe themselves as angry about the state of the nation. Trump also benefits from the large number of Republican primary voters who say they want a president from outside the political establishment.


3:45 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says her “prayer” is that Sen. Ted Cruz can come out on top of the Republican presidential race ahead of Donald Trump.

Having endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio, who ended his campaign Tuesday after a humiliating loss to Trump in Florida, Haley said Wednesday that she would support the eventual nominee, but that she’s praying it is Cruz.

Haley declined to say whether Ohio Gov. John Kasich should quit, only mentioning that “I personally don’t see it.”

Kasich won his first primary in Ohio on Tuesday, picking up all the delegates in the winner-take-all contest, but he is still running a distant third in the race.


3:35 p.m.

Supporters of failed presidential candidate Marco Rubio are ending a court challenge seeking to knock Republican presidential rival John Kasich off Pennsylvania’s primary ballot.

A withdrawal petition was filed Wednesday. The decision comes a day after Rubio lost his home state of Florida and suspended his campaign.

In February, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state had accepted Kasich’s candidate paperwork to get on Pennsylvania’s April 26 ballot. But the court challenge had questioned whether Kasich’s campaign collected enough valid voter signatures.

The Kasich campaign’s lawyer had agreed that Kasich’s paperwork was eight valid signatures short of the 2,000 required, but he maintained that the challenge was invalid because it was filed after the deadline.

Commonwealth Court judges hadn’t ruled yet on whether the court challenge was valid.


1:00 p.m.

Donald Trump’ s new online ad uses footage of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton barking like a dog to suggest she’s unfit to be president.

The ad on Trump’s official Instagram account begins with footage of Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in martial arts and a man who appears to be an Islamic State fighter pointing a gun at the camera.

“When it comes to facing our toughest opponents,” it reads, “The democrats have the perfect answer…”

The ad then cuts to footage of Clinton in Nevada earlier this year, barking to mimic an ad she’d been describing to supporters.

It ends with footage of Putin laughing and the words: “We don’t need to be a punchline!”

Clinton’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


12:50 p.m.

The Republican presidential debate scheduled for Monday in Salt Lake City has been canceled after front runner Donald Trump and John Kasich said they would not attend.

Karen Boe, a spokeswoman for the Salt Palace Convention Center, said they were informed Wednesday morning that the event was being scrapped.

Donald Trump said Wednesday morning he would not participate because “we’ve had enough debates.” Trump said Wednesday on Fox News that he’s committed to a big speech the same night.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s spokesman then said he won’t debate without Donald Trump onstage.

The debate was scheduled a day before Utah’s caucus and Arizona’s primary.

It would have been the first presidential debate held in Utah.


2:25 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has sent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin a letter saying she was mistaken in her recent comments about coal.

On national television Sunday, Clinton declared she was going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, suggested that that Clinton didn’t care about coal miners.

Clinton was touting her plan released last year to put $30 billion toward protecting the health benefits of coal miners and their families.

Spokesman Jonathan Kott said Manchin was extremely upset and followed up directly with Clinton, her senior advisers and President Bill Clinton.

In the letter dated Tuesday, the Democratic presidential candidate mentions plans to revitalize coal communities and bring jobs to Appalachia, especially in carbon capture technology.

Manchin has endorsed Clinton.


12:14 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokeswoman says he “will not accept a nomination” to be the Republican running for president — even if his predecessor, John Boehner, nominated him.

The possibility of a Ryan nomination at a contested Republican Party convention started when he said in a CNBC interview, “There are a lot of people running for president. We’ll see. Who knows?”

Former House Speaker John Boehner jumped on the comments, saying he would support Ryan if Republicans can’t nominate any candidate at the convention. His spokesman, Dave Schnittger, said Boehner made the comments Wednesday at a conference in Boca Raton, Florida.

But Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong moved quickly to quash any talk of Ryan becoming the nominee.

“The speaker is grateful for the support, but he is not interested,” she said in an emailed statement. “He will not accept a nomination and believes our nominee should be someone who ran this year.”


11:50 a.m.

The next GOP presidential debate could be a one-man show.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s spokesman says he won’t debate without Donald Trump onstage. Trump said earlier Wednesday he won’t be there.

John Weaver says, “we had hoped to contrast Gov. Kasich’s positive inclusive approach to problem solving with Trump’s campaign of division.”

Weaver adds: “If he changes his mind, we will be there.”

Trump said he’s committed to another event at the same time.

If they both skip, that would leave Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with a solo performance as he tries to consolidate support as the alternative to Trump.

No word yet from Cruz or Fox News, the host of the debate.


11:20 a.m.

Gov. Rick Scott is endorsing Donald Trump one day after the billionaire won the Florida presidential primary.

Scott made the announcement Wednesday on his official Facebook page.

The governor calls on Republicans to “accept and respect the will of the voters and coalesce behind Donald Trump.”

Like Trump, Scott is a wealthy businessman who spent millions of his fortune in his first run for office. He was elected governor in 2010.

Trump easily beat Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday, taking all 99 Florida Republican delegates and forcing Rubio out of the race.


10:25 p.m.

Former House Speaker John Boehner says he’d support his successor, Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan for president if Republicans cannot nominate any candidate at their national convention this summer.

Boehner, who has endorsed John Kasich, tells the Futures Industry Association that if Republicans can’t agree on the first ballot to nominate Donald Trump, Kasich or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, he’s “for none of the above.”

Boehner adds, “They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”

The comments were first reported by Politico.

Boehner spokesman Dave Schnittger is responding that Boehner’s “His off-the-cuff comments this morning were about a hypothetical scenario in which none of the current candidates are able to secure the nomination at the convention.”


8:44 a.m.

Donald Trump says he will not participate in the next GOP presidential debate on Monday in Utah because “we’ve had enough debates.”

The front runner for the Republican presidential nomination said Wednesday on Fox News that he’s committed to a big speech the same night.

Trump says he didn’t know about the March 21 event until Tuesday night, when he won critical primaries in Illinois, North Carolina and Florida.

Without Trump, the only two onstage would be Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who won his home state in the same contests Tuesday, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. It would be a clash of potential alternatives as each man maneuvers to claim the mantle of credible alternative to the brash billionaire who has controlled the race for months.


7:57 a.m.

Donald Trump says Republican senators who are trashing him in public are calling him in private because they want to “become involved” in his presidential campaign, eventually.

Trump didn’t name any senators in his interview on MSNBC the morning after his wins in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina Tuesday night. But he said the Republicans include some who appear on the morning talk shows saying, “Donald Trump, we have to stop him.” Trump added that they “are calling me to work out a deal” to “become involved. They see things here that they’ve never ever seen in the Republican Party.”


7:33 a.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says that if the GOP tries to deny him the party’s nomination even if he’s within reach of sufficient delegates at convention time, “We’d have riots.”

Trump tells CNN’s “Newsday” Wednesday morning he’s brought large numbers of people into the party — “The really big story is how many people are voting in these primaries,” — and he says “if you just disenfranchise these people, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before.”

He tells anchor Chris Cuomo, “I wouldn’t lead it,” but said unrest could happen.

Trump cited a hypothetical scenario where he’d go to the Cleveland convention in July with roughly 1,000 delegates and a rival would show up there with 500.

He said he believes he will nail down the nomination before the convention and said he couldn’t imagine failing to get the party’s nomination virtually “automatically” in such a scenario. Trump said “I don’t even want to think about” what he’d do if he’s in such an advantageous position but still does not become the nominee.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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