Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went into the “Acela primaries,” as they’ve been called, with a strong delegate count and projected sweeping wins across the Northeast. Voters in five states were set to head to the polls Tuesday in primaries that the winning candidates hope will widen their lead and prove themselves the only viable candidates moving forward.
With her victory in New York last week, Democrat Clinton expanded her delegate count against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by more than 200 pledged delegates. Not including superdelegates, Clinton held 1,428 delegates while Sanders held 1,153. When superdelegates were accounted for, Clinton’s lead expanded significantly, with 1,944 delegates and superdelegates. Sanders held just 1,192, according to the Associated Press count.
On the Republican side, Trump was ahead of both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 845 delegates. Cruz held second with 559 delegates, while Kasich secured just 148 delegates, also using the AP count. Both candidates are hoping to block Trump from obtaining the 1,237 delegates required to ensure his nomination and avoid a contested convention. The controversial candidate has been unpopular among the GOP establishment.
Wins Tuesday in Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island are seen as critical for struggling candidates to maintain momentum in the last few weeks of the nomination processes. If Clinton and Trump grab most of the delegates, it could cast doubt that Sanders or Cruz have any viable chance of being nominated.
At stake in the primaries are 172 delegates for Republicans and 384 among Democrats. All eyes within the Democratic Party will be on Pennsylvania, with 189 delegates, and Maryland, with 95 delegates, excluding superdelegates in both cases. A strong turnout was reported in several states ahead of the vote.
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