Electoral augurs long predicted the results of tonight’s Empire State primary, with handy victories for native son Donald Trump and quasi-native daughter Hillary Clinton, but the margins of their victories offer boosts in both momentum and delegate allocation that even the most hopeful members of their campaigns likely didn’t anticipate.
The past month hadn’t been easy for either candidate, with both Trump and Clinton seeing their frontrunner status threatened by strings of electoral victories and wars of delegate attrition waged by their opponents. But with a pair of momentous victories in New York, Trump and Clinton now appear to have righted their ships – and are cruising towards their respective parties’ nominations.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Trump’s victory was called by the Associated Press just moments after polls closed, but there was no telling then just how vast his victory would be. Trump is on track to win all but one of New York’s 27 counties and will likely claim most of the 95 Republican delegates up for grabs, strengthening his assertion that he is the only candidate with a realistic shot at the 1,237 needed to clinch the GOP nomination. With nearly 95% of the vote counted, Trump leads with 60.1% of the vote, with Ohio governor John Kasich at 25.2% and Texas senator Ted Cruz – whose famous comments disparaging “New York values” appear to have kneecapped him – trailing with just 14.7%.
- Appearing at a victory rally in Midtown Manhattan, Clinton told her supporters: “Tonight, the race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight.” She stopped short of calling on opponent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to drop out, however, adding: “I am going forward because more voices remain to be heard,” and telling his supporters: “I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.” With almost 95% of the votes tallied, Clinton leads 57.6% to Sanders’ 42.4%. With nearly 1.7 million Democratic votes counted, Clinton holds a lead in excess of 250,000.
- Pre-emptively dismissing Trump’s expected blowout as “a politician tonight winning his home state”, Cruz sought to reframe himself as outsider similar to Bernie Sanders. “I am an outsider, Bernie Sanders is an outsider,” he said. “Both with the same diagnosis, but both with very different paths to healing. Millions of Americans have chosen one of these outsiders,” he said. “Ronald Reagan and Jack Kennedy were outsiders.”
- Kasich, the only other Republican left in the race, was seeking to add to his small delegate total and maintain his bid to emerge as a viable alternative at the convention. John Weaver, the Ohio governor’s top strategist, was confident early in the evening that his campaign would pick up some delegates in New York. He went on to note that Cruz’s collapse in the Empire State presaged what will be a rough night for him next week. “What is happening to Cruz in New York is corresponding with what we’re seeing in the other April 26 states … He’s cast in a very narrow lane.”
- Sanders, in lieu of a concession speech, delivered a concession tweet:
Thank you to all those who came out tonight in New York! Onward to five more states voting next week.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 20, 2016
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016