Trump Hopes New York Values Deliver Him Big Primary Win.
Donald Trump‘s campaign is poised to have its first good week in a month as the Republican presidential front-runner awaits an expected win in Tuesday’s New York primary, a boost that could provide momentum ahead of five key Northeast contests next week.
The billionaire and his fellow New Yorker, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, hope big victories in their home state will help them pivot away from primary losses in late March and early April and other campaign distractions.
More importantly, a strong showing in the state where Trump was born and built his business empire could help him maintain his narrow path to the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination before the party’s national convention in July. New York polls began to open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
“New York is looking great, but you’ve gotta vote,” Trump told supporters Monday evening during a raucous rally in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabers.
“Tomorrow is a big, big day,” he said. “You’re going to remember this evening, and you’re going to remember, more importantly, tomorrow and the vote. You’re going to look back in four years, and 12 years and 25 years, and you’re going to say, ‘That’s the greatest single vote I’ve ever cast.’ Because, from that point on, as soon as we beat Hillary Clinton, we are going to start as a country winning again.”
The Empire State competition amounts to 27 separate elections, with each congressional district awarding three delegates. A total of 95 delegates are at stake on the Republican side—the fourth most of any state—when those awarded on a statewide basis are included.
Trump’s Republican rivals, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have targeted specific districts they think will be more favorable to them, in hopes of blocking Trump from a clean sweep. Cruz has been dogged by opponents on both sides of the aisle for his criticism of Trump’s “New York values” in a January debate.
“He does not like New York and he doesn’t like New Yorkers,” Trump said of Cruz on Fox News on Tuesday.
Besides awarding crucial delegates, the New York outcome will also help set the tone for a series of primaries that will be held during the next two weeks in states where Trump is expected to do well. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island hold primaries on April 26 with a total of 172 delegates on the line.
The biggest prize on April 26, Pennsylvania is also a wild card. With a total of 71 Republican delegates available, the commonwealth will elect 54 through a unique system where names will be listed on the ballot without information on the candidate they’d support. Those delegates also aren’t bound to the winner of the primary vote on the first round of convention balloting in Cleveland.
Trump Goes for Shutout
In the Republican race, the statewide voter percentage in New York will determine how 14 additional delegates are awarded. If Trump’s rivals can hold him short of 50 percent, they’ll get some of those. The latest RealClearPolitics average of recent polls has Trump at 53.1 percent, with Kasich at 22.8 percent and Cruz with 18.1 percent.
Candidates who get more than 50 percent of the vote in a congressional district will get all three of its delegates. If no candidate gets above 50 percent, then the top finisher gets two delegates and the second-place finisher gets one, so long as both win at least 20 percent of the vote.
Kasich held more than one campaign event in the 3rd Congressional District and both the 20th and 24th. Those last two include Schenectady and Syracuse, where he held town hall events on Monday.
Some of the governor’s stops were in congressional districts with relatively few Republican voters. That included the 15th District that’s part of the Bronx, which has only 13,270 active enrolled Republicans, according to state elections data.
Kasich can’t secure the needed delegates before the convention to win the nomination, but hopes to accumulate enough to make a credible case as the most electable candidate who can unite the party.
The next best opportunity for anti-Trump forces could be the May 3 primary in Indiana, a state with demographic similarities to Wisconsin and Ohio, where the billionaire was defeated. Fifty-seven delegates will be awarded in Indiana on a winner-take-most basis, and the state also has a strong social conservative streak that could benefit Cruz, who has shown little ability to win over more secular Republican voters in the Northeast.
A dominant win for Trump in New York could help put behind him, at least for now, some of the gaffes and distractions his campaign has suffered in recent weeks. He’s recently moved to hire more campaign professionals and has shown the potential for being more disciplined as a candidate.
As Tuesday’s results come in, Clinton plans to hold what she expects to be a victory party at a Sheraton hotel near Times Square, while Sanders is moving on to Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The Republican front-runner plans to speak after the polls close from his Trump Tower in Midtown, while Cruz and Kasich will already have begun campaigning in Maryland and Pennsylvania.