This story was reported by Sarah Armaghan, John Asbury, Valerie Bauman, Sid Cassese, Christine Chung, Scott Eidler, Laura Figueroa, Michael Gormley, Lisa Irizarry, Paul LaRocco, Deborah S. Morris, Yancey Roy and David M. Schwartz. It was written by Jennifer Barrios.
Presidential front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both stepped closer to their respective parties’ nomination Tuesday night, with crucial primary wins in their home state of New York.
Trump soared past his Republican rivals to claim an early, easy victory in the primary, while Clinton outpolled her Democratic opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Trump received 60 percent of the vote statewide, to Kasich getting 25 percent and Cruz receiving 15 percent.
Clinton received 58 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 42 percent.
New York State Board of Elections totals indicated Trump would win 90 of the 95 Republican delegates at stake Tuesday, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on pace to get five and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz getting none. Not all the congressional districts had finalized totals, though, by late Tuesday.
Trump needed to nearly sweep New York’s 95 delegates to avoid a contested Republican convention in July. Meanwhile, New York was a vital win for Clinton, who was seeking to dampen the momentum generated by Sanders, who had come off a string of primary victories.
With 247 Democratic delegates at stake, Clinton will pick up at least 104, while Sanders will gain at least 85. Many remain to be allocated, pending final vote tallies.
Clinton and Trump each addressed supporters after polls closed Tuesday night — Clinton at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel, and Trump a few blocks away at his Trump Tower.
In a roughly 20-minute speech, Clinton thanked voters, pitched key issues on her platform and reached out to Sanders supporters.
“It’s humbling that you trust me with the awesome responsibilities that await our next president,” she said. “And to all the people who supported Sen. Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.”
She added: “Victory is in sight.” And later she warned that the vision of American being offered by Trump and Cruz is “divisive and frankly dangerous.”
Clinton will go on to campaign in Philadelphia on Wednesday, while on Thursday she will hold a forum on gun violence in Hartford, Conn. She is slated to campaign in Rhode Island this weekend, according to her campaign schedule.
Sanders issued a tweet shortly before 11 p.m., thanking voters for coming out. “Onward to five more states voting next week,” the tweet read.
Trump’s win, meanwhile, was projected just moments after polls closed at 9 p.m. Eight minutes after polls closed, he tweeted: “Thank you New York! I love you!”
In an eight-minute victory speech, Trump — flanked by his family — sounded familiar themes on immigration, Common Core, and the military.
“I guess we’re close to 70 percent and we’re going to end at a very high level and get a lot more delegates than anybody projected,” he said.
“We are going to be so strong again . . . so great again and I just can’t wait,” he said.
He added that “we don’t have much of a race anymore.”Cruz.
His remarks Tuesday night appeared to have a more moderate tone than some of his previous campaign rhetoric.
Stepping away from his previous nickname of “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” and referring to his opponent by his proper title, Trump said Cruz had been “mathematically eliminated” Tuesday night.
“Now, especially after tonight, [we’ll have] close to 300 delegates more than Sen. Cruz,” Trump said.
On Wednesday, Trump plans to campaign in Indiana and Maryland, and will head to Delaware on Friday.
His New York win comes as the real estate mogul bounced back from his loss last week in Wisconsin.
In that state, Cruz received 48 percent of the vote, compared to 35 percent for Trump. Kasich came in third place with 14 percent.
Suffolk County Republican Party Chairman John Jay LaValle was at Trump Tower on Tuesday night to celebrate his candidate’s “big win.”
“He’s got a lot of work to do, but that’s OK,” LaValle said. “He’s well ahead of his competitors and I think the math is going to work out. It’s going to be tight but it’s going to work out.”
Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs called Clinton’s win “a great victory.”
“New York has sealed the deal for her,” he said.
He stopped short from calling for Sanders to drop out, but said: “The tone needs to change and we have to begin the process of uniting the party.”
While much has been said about Clinton’s bid to become the first female U.S. president, many in the crowd said they were drawn to Clinton because of her experience in government from her time as first lady to serving as secretary of state.
That both front-runners — Trump and Clinton — spent Tuesday night in New York is no accident: The New York primary is considered key in the presidential race.
Two-thirds of Democratic voters say the contest between Clinton and Sanders has been energizing for the party, while less than 3 in 10 consider it divisive, according to an Associated Press exit poll.
But Republican voters hold the opposite view: Nearly 6 in 10 say their party has been divided by the heated nomination contest between Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Only 4 in 10 GOP voters say it has been energizing, exit polls show.
Among Suffolk voters, Trump got 73 percent of the vote, Kasich 19 percent, and Cruz 9 percent, while Clinton got 55 percent and Sanders 45, with all precincts reporting.
In Nassau, Trump received 70 percent of the vote, Kasich 21 percent and Cruz 9 percent, with Clinton getting 61 percent and Cruz 39 percent, with 71 percent of precincts reporting.
Outside the polling place at West Hollow Middle School in Melville on Tuesday evening, retired teacher Arthur Auster, 72, of Melville said he opted for Sanders over Clinton.
“I voted against Hillary — so I voted for Bernie,” Auster said, adding that he didn’t think Sanders “had a shot.”
But Alexandra Garrido, 20, said she voted for “Donald Trump, mainly because I’m a member of the NRA.”
While other Republican candidates have supported gun rights, the Melville resident said, “I was more drawn to Donald Trump. I think family influence has a lot to do with it; my whole family is a big supporter of Donald Trump.”
State officials said earlier Tuesday they had received a large number of complaints from voters about the process.
Only registered Republicans and Democrats could vote in the primary.
The state attorney general’s office said it has fielded more complaints Tuesday on its “voter hotline” than in recent memory.
A number of people not registered with either party were showing up attempting to cast ballots, election officials said, though they had no number for how many were turned away. New York’s primaries are open only to party members.
Registered voters who wanted to switch parties had to do so in October. That has drawn complaints about the process from Trump and Sanders supporters.
More than 15,000 voters in Nassau and Suffolk switched party registration since the October deadline.