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Trump warns of riots if he's denied Republican nomination

Big wins in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday brought Donald Trump closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination. But Trump might fall short of the majority required.

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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his primary election night event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
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Republican front-runner Donald Trump warned on Wednesday of riots if he is denied the party's presidential nomination after a string of primary election victories.

The New York billionaire scored big wins in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday which brought him closer to the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination.

But one loss - in the crucial state of Ohio - left the door open for those in the party trying to stop Mr. Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

Trump might fall short of the majority required, enabling the party establishment to put forward another name at the July convention in Cleveland to formally pick its candidate.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Trump said if he got a large number of delegates yet was denied the nomination: "I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. I'm representing many, many millions of people."

Party leaders are appalled at the real estate developer and reality TV personality's incendiary rhetoric and believe his policy positions are out of step with core Republican sentiment, such as his vow to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, temporarily ban Muslims from the United States and build a wall along the border with Mexico.

But the Republican establishment's bid to stop him may have come too late as a field of candidates that once included Trump and 16 high-profile party figures has dwindled to only three with Trump, 69, in command ahead of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, 45, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, who won the Ohio Republican primary on Tuesday.

While the Republican race remained in turmoil, Hillary Clinton won victories in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina on Tuesday that cast doubt on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' ability to overtake her for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Trump also said on Wednesday that he would not attend the next televised Republican presidential debate scheduled for March 21.

"I think we've had enough debates," Trump, who won three states in Tuesday's nominating contests, told Fox News in an interview. Fox on Monday announced the new debate, its latest in the primary season as the party chooses its candidate ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election. 

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington,; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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