NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Donald Trump gets closer to the magic number of 1,237 as the billionaire easily captured the New York Republican primary Tuesday night, CBS News projects.
CBS News reports that Trump is on his way to winning most of the 95 delegates in his home state.
The outcome never seemed in doubt for Trump as polls showed him with 30-point leads heading into the primary.
Following the victory, Trump railed against the Republican Party’s delegate system, calling it “crooked” and “rigged,” and that “we’re going back to the old way.”
“Nobody should be given delegates, which is a ticket to victory and it’s not a fair ticket,” Trump said. “And even though we’re leading by a lot and we can’t be caught — it’s impossible to catch us — nobody should take delegates and claim victory unless they get those delegates with voters and voting.
Trump said that Sen. Ted Cruz is “just about mathematically eliminated.”
“We don’t have much of a race anymore,” Trump said.
Trump added, “We’re going to go into the convention, I think, as the winner, but nobody can take an election away with the way they’re doing it in the Republican Party.”
A CBS News exit poll showed that 72 percent of New York Republican voters who cast their ballots for Trump are angry about the government. It found that 72 percent of GOP voters believe the candidate with the most votes should secure the nomination if there is no delegate majority.
The poll also showed that six in 10 New York Republican voters are more concerned or scared about a potential Cruz presidency, than either Trump (39 percent), or Ohio Gov. John Kasich (47 percent).
Trump voted Tuesday at a synagogue near Trump Tower on the East Side of Manhattan, surrounded by a crush of reporters.
He said it was a “great honor” to be able to vote for himself.
“I’m really honored and putting in that vote today was really something terrific,” he told CNN. “My whole reason for doing this is to make America great again.”
The main question facing the billionaire businessman was whether he could sweep most or even all of the delegates up for grabs. Trump needed a strong showing to keep alive his chances of clinching the GOP nomination before the party’s July convention — and to quiet critics who say the long primary season has exposed big deficiencies in his campaign effort.
Having spent months relying on a slim staff, Trump has started hiring more seasoned campaign veterans. He acknowledges that bringing new people into his orbit may cause some strife, but says the moves were necessary at this stage of the race.
“When you bring other people in, I could see some people their feelings get a little bit hurt,” Trump said Tuesday on Fox News. “But frankly, you know, we’re in a position where we’d like to see if we can close it out.”
Cruz, Trump’s main rival, is trying to stay close enough in the delegate count to push the GOP race to a contested convention. Cruz’s campaign feels confident that it’s mastered the complicated process of lining up individual delegates who could shift their support to the Texas senator after a first round of convention balloting.
But Cruz, who infamously panned Trump’s “New York values” earlier in the primary, was bracing for a tough showing in Tuesday’s voting. He left the state long before polls closed and was spending the day in Pennsylvania, which votes next week. Cruz was given little chance of scoring delegates in New York.
Kasich, the only other Republican left in the race, was seeking to add to his scant delegate total and keep up his bid to play a long-shot spoiler at the convention. Kasich has refused to end his campaign despite winning only his home state.
Trump’s political strength, though he boasts of drawing new members to the party, has left some Republicans concerned that his nomination could splinter the GOP. Among Republican voters in New York, nearly 6 in 10 said the nominating contest is dividing the party, according to exit polls.
If the race is not settled by July, Trump faces the very real prospect of losing to Cruz, whose campaign is mastering the complicated process of lining up individual delegates who could shift their support to the Texas senator after the first round of convention balloting.
“If I’m the nominee, we win the general election,” Cruz said.
Cruz, who infamously panned Trump’s “New York values” earlier in the primary, was bracing for a tough showing in the state. He was already looking ahead on the primary calendar, holding events Tuesday in Pennsylvania, which votes next week.
Heading into Tuesday, Trump led his rivals with 755 delegates. Cruz is second at 558, while Kasich has 143.
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