Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton swept to resounding victories in Tuesday’s New York primary, with Trump bouncing back convincingly from a difficult stretch in his Republican campaign and Clinton pushing tantalizingly close to locking up the Democratic nomination.
“The race for the nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight,” Clinton declared to cheering supporters.
A confident Trump insisted it was impossible for his rivals to catch him. Indeed, Cruz’s poor showing in New York left him without any mathematical chance of clinching the nomination before the Republican convention in July, though Trump could still end up short of the needed 1,237 needed to seal victory before the gathering.
Exit polls suggested Democrats were ready to rally around whoever the party nominates. Nearly 7 in 10 Sanders supporters in New York said that they would definitely or probably vote for Clinton if she is the party’s pick.
“We’ve got a shot to victory,” Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. However, his senior adviser Tad Devine said later that the campaign planned to “sit back and assess where we are” after a string of contests next week.
The fight for New York’s delegate haul consumed the presidential contenders for two weeks, an eternity in the fast-moving White House race. Candidates blanketed every corner of New York, bidding for votes from Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs to the working class cities and rural enclaves that dot the rest of the state.
The nominating contests will stay centered in the Northeast in the coming days, with Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania all holding contests next week. Sanders spent Tuesday in Pennsylvania, as did Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s closest rival.
Cruz panned Trump’s win in New York as little more than “a politician winning his home state,” then implored Republicans to unite around his candidacy.
Cruz is trying to stay close enough in the delegate count to push the GOP race to a contested convention. His campaign feels confident that it’s mastered the complicated process of lining up individual delegates who could shift their support to the Texas senator after a first round of convention balloting.
Trump’s political strength, though he boasts of drawing new members to the party, has left some Republicans concerned that his nomination could splinter the GOP. Among Republican voters in New York, nearly 6 in 10 said the nominating contest is dividing the party, according to exit polls.
Still, about 7 in 10 New York Republicans said the candidate with the most votes in primary contests should be the Republican presidential nominee
Trump now leads the GOP race with 845 delegates, ahead of Cruz with 559 and Kasich with 147. Securing the GOP nomination requires 1,237.