Donald Trump has spent weeks bragging about how much New Yorkers love him — and on Tuesday they proved it.
Several news outlets projected immediately at 9pm when polls closed in New York that Trump will win his home state, before any vote counts had been reported. With 98 percent of precincts in New York reporting, Trump lead with a whopping 60 percent of the vote, dealing a huge blow to his rivals for the Republican nomination.
Senator Ted Cruz, Trump's closest competitor in the race, will actually come in third place in New York and held just 14 percent of the vote, as elections officials continue to count ballots. Ohio Governor John Kasich will place in second, earning his first delgates since winning his home state of Ohio last month, but he still falls far behind Trump with 25 percent of the vote.
That result is not exactly a surprise. Trump led in the New York polls by an average of 30 points before Tuesday's primary, according to a Huffington Post average, and was widely favored to win. By Tuesday, Cruz and Kasich had packed up and left New York, instead opting to campaign in Maryland and Pennsylvania which are next up on the primary calendar. They will hold their primaries, along with Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island, on April 26.
Trump is expected to win the vast majority of New York's 95 Republican delegates, most of which (81) will be split between the winner in each congressional district, rather than going straight to the statewide victor. That means that in districts with very few registered Republicans — some parts of the Bronx, for instance — only a small number of votes will be needed for one of the candidates to win delegates.
Trump addressed supporters at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday night. Waiting at the bottom of the gilded escalators he famously rode down before announcing his presidential campaign, was a small crowd of Trump's family, campaign staff and other supporters close to the campaign. Minutes after Fox News' Megyn Kelly announced that Trump was the projected winner in the New York Republican primary, the crowd broke out into chants of "Trump, Trump, Trump."
Trump walked out to speak to supporters just after 9:30pm, to strains of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blaring from the speakers.
Surrounded by his wife, Melania, his children and Corey Lewandowski, his recently demoted campaign manager, Trump thanked supporters for a huge victory in New York on Tuesday night. Trump said that it was "really nice to have the people who know me best" support him so strongly.
"I want to thank everybody. It's really nice to win the delegates with the votes," he emphasized, after weeks of criticizing the Colorado Republican Party for allocating its delegates at a state convention rather than through a primary or caucus.
"We don't have much of a race any more. Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated," Trump said to big cheers from those gathered at Trump Tower. "We're really, really rocking. We expect we're going to have an amazing number of weeks."
Trump did significantly impair Cruz's ability to win the Republican nomination before the July convention on Tuesday night. Given New York's huge delegate count and Trump's sizable victory there, the Texas senator would have to win nearly every remaining delegate to get the 1,237 needed to win the nomination before July. Trump will likely need to win a little more than half of those remaining, depending on how many delegates he takes from New York. (Kasich would need many more delegates than are still available).
Trump pointed to several prominent New York City businessmen and real estate developers who joined him at Trump Tower on Tuesday night. "Believe me we're going to use our great business people to negotiate unbelievable trade deals so we can bring our jobs back," Trump said. "Nobody is going to mess with us, that I can tell you."
Trump won New York on Tuesday night, despite the fact that many independent voters and Democrats were unable to vote for him. That includes two of Trump's adult children, Ivanka and Eric, who, like an estimated 3 million New Yorkers, missed the October registration deadline to register with a major party.
Only one of Trump's four adult children voted for him today: Donald Trump Jr., who cast a ballot for his father Tuesday afternoon on Manhattan's Upper East Side, blocks away from Trump Tower. (Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, 22, is registered to vote in the Pennsylvania Republican primary on April 26).
Trump Jr., who arrived to the polling location with his wife and young daughter, said it "felt great" to finally see his father's name on the ballot. Trump Jr. added that people had been coming up to him all day to tell him how excited they were to vote for his father. Trump is "getting a lot of people who haven't been interested in politics before, getting them involved early," Trump Jr. told reporters. "It's exciting."
The elder Trump's win comes amid allegations of voter suppression in New York, where many voters — largely Democrats — said that the state had changed or lost their voter registrations, preventing them from voting in the primaries on Tuesday. A new watchdog group, Election Justice USA, filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of more than 200 voters over the issues. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced Tuesday that his office will conduct an audit of the city's board of elections over those and other "irregularities" in the primaries on Tuesday.
The elder Trump began Tuesday with 743 delegates and is estimated to add significantly to that lead after winning New York. But he is still well short of the 1,237 delegates that are needed to win the nomination outright before the Republican convention in July. It continues to look likely that no one candidate will get to that magic number and the nomination will be decided on the convention floor. If that happens, all of New York's delegates will be unbound after the first round of voting and can pick whichever candidate they want.
Trump's sweep in New York came as his campaign is going through a public shake-up. On Monday, Trump's national field director Stuart Jolly resigned after Trump promoted the Scott Walker's former campaign manager above him. And Trump's embattled campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has been demoted to "body man and scheduler," according to a report by CBS News. Trump hired Paul Manafort, who has worked on numerous Republican presidential campaigns, last week to help prepare the campaign for a contested convention, but Manafort has now reportedly taken over for Lewandowski in running the entire campaign operation.
Trump concluded his victory speech on Tuesday night by saying that he was going to "celebrate for about two hours and then get up early in the morning to begin working again." Although the event was billed as a press conference, Trump did not take any questions from reporters and vanished from the stage almost as quickly as he came.
Trump will campaign in Indiana and Maryland on Wednesday, before their primary contests on April 26 and May 3, respectively.
Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @oliviaLbecker
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