WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) — Continuing his march toward the Republican nomination, GOP front-runner Donald Trump will sweep all five Eastern Seaboard primary races on Tuesday, multiple media outlets predict.
All five of the states were called within a half-hour of polls closing, an indication of the lopsided nature likely among the final vote tallies in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The victories put more pressure on Trump’s rivals, Texas
There are 172 delegates at stake on the Republican side, roughly 14 percent of the total needed to capture the GOP nomination. The final delegate counts will not be known until vote tallies in individual congressional delegates are completed. Several of the states award delegates on a partially proportional basis, meaning it is likely Cruz or Kasich will peel away some delegates, preventing a clean sweep for Trump.
In at least one state, the ultimate winner won’t be known until the convention.
Pennsylvania’s quirky delegate rules make Trump’s victory largely symbolic. Of the 71 delegates from the state, 54 will head to the GOP convention in Cleveland free to vote for any candidate, despite his victory.
The breadth of his victory, however, strengthens his case to those 54 delegates that they should honor the wishes of Pennsylvania voters. If he finishes agonizingly close, but shy, of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination, the Pennsylvania delegation will be closely watched — and courted — until voting begins at the convention.
Cruz, speaking to supporters in Knightstown, Ind., before polls closed in the East, continued his attacks on Trump, calling him a New York liberal, and predicting the campaign will change again once it shifts back out West.
“The media has told us the candidates in this race, the Republican and Democrat, they’re both going to be New York liberals,” Cruz said. “I’ve got good news for you tonight. This campaign moves back to more favorable terrain. Tonight this campaign moves back to Indiana and Nebraska, and North Dakota, and Washington and California.”
Indiana is the next state to vote, one week from Tuesday, and as a winner-takes-all state could represent Cruz’s last realistic chance to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to lock up the GOP nomination.
Trump is scheduled to speak to supporters later Tuesday.