Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump scored big in his home state Tuesday night, sweeping his opponents and taking home the New York primary.
The billionaire’s victory in the state where he grew up and built his business empire makes his road to the Republican nomination far less arduous and gives him a much-needed boost after a crushing defeat in Wisconsin earlier this month.
Trump campaigned aggressively in New York in the two weeks leading up to the state’s nominating contests and sought to win the hearts of voters by reminding them of the culture and qualities that make the Empire State unique.
“Every small act of courage, those are New York values, OK?” he told an audience in Buffalo late Monday night. In the final week before the primary, Trump railed against the Republican Party for allegedly changing the rules surrounding the distribution of delegates to make his path to 1,237 delegates more difficult.
“They changed the rules a number of months ago,” Trump said during a town hall last week. “You know why they changed the rules? Because they saw how I was doing and they didn’t like it.”
The New York businessman now heads into friendlier territory, with five primaries set to take place the final week of April in states where Trump currently carries double-digit leads.
RealClearPolitics’ latest polling averages show Donald Trump with a 14-point lead over Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Maryland and a 20-point lead over Cruz in Pennsylvania. Both states will hold their primaries on April 26 and could put Trump within 350 delegates of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination if his performance reflects recent polling.
Having realized the importance the final 15 primary states will play in determining whether the GOP will face a contested convention, the Trump campaign has also bulked up on political insiders as of late.
Earlier this month, Trump hired veteran GOP operative Paul Manafort to focus on getting him to the all-important 1,237 delegate count. Last week, he added Scott Walker’s former campaign manager Rick Wiley to his team. And on Tuesday, Trump reportedly demoted his scandalized campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to serve as his scheduler.
“Frankly, we’re in position where we’d like to see if we could close it out,” Trump told Fox News Tuesday morning.
Trump is set to delivery a victory speech at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday night from the same podium in Trump Tower where he began his White House bid last April. source
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