Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders is handed a rose...

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders is handed a rose as he walks in Jackson Heights, Queens, greeting supporters on the eve of the primary on Monday, April 18, 2016. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Primary Day, at last

New York’s rare turn as a center of the political universe comes to a conclusion Tuesday night, and the results could do much to shape the rest of the primary campaign.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders pressed get-out-the-vote efforts in the city. Donald Trump and John Kasich vied for support upstate. Ted Cruz kept a lower profile with a morning TV appearance and moved on to a series of private meetings and fundraisers in Manhattan.

Newsday’s Yancey Roy has five things to watch for based on how New Yorkers vote.

Chief among them is whether Clinton is able to halt Sanders’ winning streak and reassert her near-inevitability in the delegate count. That’s all the more critical for her now as an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll is the latest to show Sanders nearly tied with Clinton in national support from Democratic voters.

For Trump, the question is how huge a home-state victory. Republican strategists have said Kasich and Cruz have opportunities to peel away some delegates. That could prove important down the line in denying Trump a first-ballot convention win.

Win-win, lose-win

Sanders still says he has a chance to win the New York primary. “Generally speaking, polling has underestimated how we do in elections,” he said Monday.

But if not, his campaign has a Plan B to spin the results.

“Here’s the truth: We don’t have to win New York on Tuesday, but we have to pick up a lot of delegates,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote in email to supporters.

Closing arguments

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Hillary has always had our back” as Clinton told supporters in Manhattan that she has focused on issues that “matter” to voters across racial, gender and partisan lines.

Sanders spoke to a crowd along Queens’ East River waterfront: “I say to corporate America: ‘Get nervous if Bernie Sanders is elected president.’ ”

Trump was introduced at a Buffalo rally by Rex Ryan, the NFL Bills’ coach. Trump said he has a name, maybe, for the wall he would build on the Mexican border: “This is the Great Wall of Trump, I guess, I don’t know.” Also, in a verbal slip, he referred to 9/11 as 7/11.

Kasich held a town hall meeting in Schenectady and, in reply to a Trump backer’s question, said he is trying to offer an alternative message of optimism.

Newsday’s Laura Figueroa, Emily Ngo and Michael Gormley covered the candidates Monday.

Distance from Donald

Even as Trump is poised for a big New York win, Republican candidates for Long Island House seats have avoided embracing his candidacy. The reason for their reticence, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison, is clear: Taking sides is risky given Trump’s controversial behavior and the prospects of a floor fight in Cleveland.

But for their Democratic opponents-in-waiting, the picture is reversed. All seem to be rallying behind Hillary Clinton.

Candidates and issues

Read Newsday’s guide for voters on where Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Clinton and Sanders stand on major issues.

Trump touts show-biz values

“It’s very important to put some show biz” into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump said, because “otherwise people are going to fall asleep.”

The reality TV veteran told The Washington Post a solution would be to give him at least partial control over programming and stagecraft — even if he hasn’t clinched the nomination. Trump’s rivals and the Republican National Committee aren’t jumping at the offer.

The most memorable show-bizzy moment at the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa was Clint Eastwood’s debate with an empty chair. Trump was supposed to have a noisemaking role on Day 1, but that day’s schedule was canceled because of a hurricane.

Cruz sees convention fight perils

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday, Cruz said, “Donald is not a complicated man to understand. He doesn’t handle losing well,” Newsday’s David M. Schwartz reports.

Cruz is pinning his presidential hopes on a contested convention and says he would win, but he acknowledges he shares other Republicans’ concerns that might “fracture” the party.

According to Politico, which obtained an audio reporting of Cruz’s remarks to a private gathering of Republicans in Manhattan, the Texas senator said “in that circumstance, it’s not difficult to imagine Donald Trump getting very upset, and making his upsetness [known].”

Fear and hope

Mitt Romney worries that Trump can win on the first convention ballot unless either Cruz or Kasich drops out.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is “increasingly optimistic” that the voting will go to a second ballot — a signal he doesn’t want Trump.

Bullying suit accuses Trump

Republican strategist Cheryl Jacobs accuses Trump in a lawsuit of inciting a “virtual mob” to bully her into silence after she questioned his fitness for office.

Jacobus claims Trump and his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tried to destroy her reputation when their relationship soured over comments she made in on-air interviews. She seeks $4 million in damages.

What else is happening:

  • Clinton and Trump will stay in New York Tuesday night to await the primary vote results ...
  • Sanders accused the DNC of "apparent violations" in its coalescing on a "Hillary Victory Fund." 
  • Democratic voters upstate will be watched for whether they keep faith with the former senator or buy Sanders' populist message. 
  • An estimated 750,000 Californians who meant to register as independent may be barred from the June 7 primaries because they signed on to American Independent Party ...
  • Corporate sponsors cutting back on the GOP convention because of Trump may spend less on the Democratic convention, too. They want to appear evenhanded ...
  • “Self-funded” Trump has raised more than $9.5 million from outside donors, including about 200 people who have given $2,700, the maximum allowed ...
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio says pro-Sanders, anti-Clinton forces may have ginned up controversy over a joke at a press dinner ...
  • A Clinton paean to the virtues of hot sauce led a hip-hop radio interviewer to muse whether she’d be seen as “pandering to black people.” She laughed: “OK, is it working?” ...
  • Trump has approved a big increase in spending on his campaign through May and June, Politico reports ...
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