Primary concerns

Polls have indicated for weeks in the five states hosting primaries on Tuesday that major-party front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will add to their delegate counts.

But neither is easing up on the trail, with 384 Democratic and 172 Republican delegates on the line and nominations still to be clinched.

Rhode Island is where Trump on Monday made a big show of telling the NFL to “leave Tom Brady alone.” The Patriots’ quarterback, suspended for four games in the Deflate-gate scandal, is a supporter of the blustery billionaire.

Pennsylvania is the biggest delegate yield for both parties, and Clinton plans to appear tonight at the Philadelphia Convention Center, a key staging ground for her party’s July convention. Trump will be at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Connecticut has seen Bernie Sanders continue to draw attendance at his rallies, with 10,000 showing up for one in New Haven.

Maryland has not only the second-largest number of presidential delegates at stake, but its other contests will shape turnout — including Baltimore’s mayoral and city council races and jockeying for an open U.S. Senate seat.

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And Delaware was the scene of a Clinton speech where she looked past Sanders and challenged Trump to “come out of those towers” and “actually talk and listen to people.”

Double trouble for Donald?

Whether destined to succeed or fail, this unique Kasich-Cruz pact puts a whole new edge into front-runner Donald Trump’s put-downs. He promptly called their collaboration “sad” and “pathetic,” terms he’s hurled repeatedly at detractors throughout the battle.

Having Trump as nominee would be a “sure disaster for Republicans,” Cruz charged. “It is significant that John Kasich is pulling out of Indiana and allowing us to go directly head to head with Donald Trump.”

At another of his public-eating stops in Philadelphia, Kasich defended the agreement, by which he’d stop campaigning in Indiana in exchange for Kasich having a freer hand in New Mexico and Oregon. “What’s the big deal?,” he asked reporters.

Kasich declined to urge outright that supporters back Cruz in the Hoosier State. Some calls this a “strain” in the pact. But their mutual goal is to stop Trump — not endorse the other guy.

The very limited partnership between his rivals, however, does seem to make it more important that Trump run up the score on Tuesday, says Newsday’s Yancey Roy.

The take-away: Attacking in the name of unity

The Cruz-Kasich concord drives a sharper wedge within the Republican Party — with the declared goal of unifying it, Dan Janison writes. But it sure hasn’t mellowed Trump. He stepped up his complaining that party activists are out to sink him.

Bern’s bridges to tomorrow

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Bernie Sanders’s public declarations are showing signs of transition — from a battle charge to wrest the nomination from Clinton to having impact on policy and platforms, says The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent (pay site).

In that regard the candidate also got a bit of “Bern notice” in The New York Times which says: “Democratic leaders are wary of steering the party too far left, but do not want to alienate the Sanders supporters.”

It would be an exaggeration to say he’s in concession mode — but not to say his path for the nomination is narrow.

Getcha Veep speculation, while it lasts

As front-runners project confidence that they’ll seal the deal, it becomes time for their campaigns to flatter, sound out and float names for the number-two spot on the ticket, which risks little and can win friends.

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Take the case of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). He keeps getting floated as a possible Clinton running-mate, and keeps saying he's not interested. But what’s the downside of talking up somebody in a potentially crucial state like Ohio? Or talking up Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a favorite of progressives?

On the Trump side, one suggestion to surface is Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. He tweeted that he liked a suggestion that she be picked. Ted Cruz’s short list is said to include Carly Fiorina.

The curious case of the Long Island felon endorsing Trump

How did a felon from Long Island get on stage among a group of former police officers endorsing Donald Trump before the New York primary? Newsday’s Bill Dedman offers the tale of Dale Robert Javino, 55, of Center Moriches who joined Trump on stage at a New York Veteran Police Association news conference, despite never having worked in law enforcement.

What else is happening:

  • Down ballot from the White House, Congressional races simmer; donors to retiring Rep. Steve Israel are hedging bets on a successor, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune.
  • Sanders says it's on Clinton to try to win over his supporters if she wins.
  • Bobby Knight, the ex-Hoosiers coach, is due to campaign with Trump on Wednesday, Politico reports.
  • One new poll shows Clinton leading Trump by only 3 points in a head-to-head matchup.
  • Getting into the act, actor Tim Robbins claims the election is being stolen from Sanders.
  • Chief execs are “frustrated” at the populist tone of the presidential race, The Wall Street Journal reports (pay wall).
  • California’s Republican donors wasted big bucks on candidates who dropped out, the L.A. Times reports (pay wall).
  • No Twitter for Trump, the prolific tweeter said he’ll stop posting if he becomes president because it’s “not presidential.”
  • Time for another GOP debate? Cruz challenged Trump to two debates in Indiana, saying it has been 46 days since the rivals last sparred on a debate stage.