New York wins boost Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Republican and Democratic frontrunners tighten their grips on party nominations
Donald Trump won a landslide victory in New York’s Republican presidential primary regaining control of the party’s race, while Hillary Clinton stretched her lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic contest.
Decisive wins by the two party leaders in one of the biggest contests in the US presidential election ended a run of victories for their main challengers, erased lingering doubts about their candidacies and moved them closer to their nominations heading into the final primary stretch.
The ballot was a record turnout for a Republican New York primary, showing the star pulling power Mr Trump has brought to the election.
Mrs Clinton (68) trounced Mr Sanders by 18 points in her adopted home state, extending her lead amongst delegates who pick the nominee and rendering his chances of winning the nomination virtually impossible.
Mr Cruz (45), a Texas senator, had a horrid night, picking up no delegates in the Empire State where he was met with a hostile reception after referring to “New York values” as an anti-liberal smear.
The only blemish on the night for Mr Trump was that Mr Kasich (63) took Manhattan where the billionaire tycoon lives and works.
At his victory party, Mr Trump entered the lobby of Trump Tower, his Manhattan skyscraper where he launched his presidential bid 10 months ago, to Frank Sinatra’s anthem “New York, New York” booming through the speakers. He exuded a renewed assertiveness after his major victory.
“We’re going to end at a very high level and get a lot more delegates than anyone even in their wildest imaginations,” said the reality TV star turned presidential contender in his victory speech.
Winning a majority of votes for the first time in 35 state contests in the Republican presidential primary, Mr Trump secured 60 per cent of the vote to 25 per cent for Mr Kasich and 15 per cent for Mr Cruz.
More importantly, the property developer won at least 89 of New York’s 95 delegates, stretching his delegate tally to 845 and growing his lead over Mr Cruz to almost 300 as he aims to reach a majority of 1,237 he needs to be the party nominee in November’s presidential poll.
New York results
“We’re going to go into the convention I think as the winner,” he said, showing confidence that he would secure the big state victories he needs to secure that majority and avoid a convention fight in Cleveland in July.
The momentum from his New York win could boost his chances in the five other northern and eastern states where he is expected to do well - Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware - where voters pick their presidential nominees next Tuesday.
Should he win most of the delegates from these states, it could push the billionaire’s support among delegates over or close to the 1,237 mark.
Ms Clinton was beating Mr Sanders by 58 per cent to 42 per cent, with 98 per cent of votes counted. This brought her at least 135 delegates of the 247 delegates up for grabs in New York beating Mr Sanders’s 104 based on a proportionate distribution based on popular votes.
The former US secretary of state posted a net gain of at least 31 delegates in the New York contest, giving her a lead among pledged delegates of 1,424 to Mr Sanders with delegates of 1,149.
She has the support of a further 469 “super-delegates” - party leaders and elected representatives, mostly members of the US Congress - to 31 backing Mr Sanders, giving her a total of 1,893 and putting her in the driving seat to reach the Democratic majority of 2,383 delegates.
A few Manhattan blocks away from Mr Trump’s victory night event at the Times Square Sheraton Hotel, Ms Clinton told her supporters at her own victory party: “Today you proved there’s no place like home.”
The emboldened Democrat delivered a speech that showed the second-time presidential candidate has her eye on the November’s election.
“We started this race not far from here on Roosevelt Island,” Mrs Clinton said. “And tonight, a little less than a year later, the race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight.”
Despite requiring ambitious victories of greater than 20 per cent in California and 10 per cent in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Mr Sanders insisted that he could still block Mrs Clinton from the nomination.
“We have a path toward victory which we are going to fight to maintain,” he told reporters on his return home to Vermont, choosing not to hold a public event after the heavy loss in the state of his birth.
In an unusual speech before the New York primary results came in, Mr Cruz changed tack dramatically in a speech in Philadelphia, quoting Democrats and claiming to be an outsider like Mr Sanders.
“This is the year of the outsider. I’m an outsider; Bernie Sanders is an outsider, both with the same diagnosis, but both with very different paths to healing,” the Texas told the crowd in Pennsylvania.
The ultimate outsider in the race, Mr Trump, echoed his past criticism of the Republican nominating process at his victory party, criticising the local party conventions closed to registered party voters where Mr Cruz has swept up delegates by using a more effective grassroots operation.
“It’s a system that is rigged,” said the businessman. “Even though we’re leading by a lot and it’s impossible to catch us, nobody should claim victory unless they get those delegates with voters and voting and that’s what’s going to happen, you watch.
“People aren’t going to stand for it. It’s a crooked system and we’re not going back to the old way where you vote and win,” he said.
The Clinton camp was not content with just a big victory either, directing criticism at Mr Sanders. It came after a bitter campaign in New York where the tone of the Democratic primary turned angry and caustic leading to one of the fiercest televised debates between the candidates.
Jennifer Palmieri, Mrs Clinton’s communications chief, told reporters after the candidate’s victory speech that given her commanding lead in the Democratic race, Mr Sanders “has to decide if he’s going to stay on this destructive path where he’s making personal character attacks.”
Criticism was also directed at the Republican victor of the night.
“With Donald Trump’s victory in New York, the Joker has officially taken hold of Gotham City and has come even closer to securing the Republican nomination,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of Correct the Record, a super PAC, or political action committee, backing Ms Clinton.