Read moreDonald Trump won the Pennsylvania Republican primary, the biggest prize among five states voting Tuesday, as well as Maryland and Connecticut.
However, the Pennsylvania victory commits just 17 of the state’s 71 delegates to support him at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, preventing Trump from locking up the nomination.But his win in Pennsylvania, coupled with last week’s decisive victory in New York, extends the front-runner’s lead and further hinders an all-out effort from establishment Republicans to stop him from claiming the party’s nomination.Read moreTed Cruz ditched the Eastern primaries Tuesday to rally in the Indianapolis suburbs, at the storied Hoosier Gym, no less, as he turns his campaign to next week's lone primary, in Indiana.The senator from Texas is banking on Indiana and its 57 delegates in his effort to stop Donald Trump from clinching the Republican nomination for president.Cruz has been hunkered down in the state for days, and his conservative and Christian credentials are expected to play better here than along the East Coast, where results of the five states voting Tuesday were not expected to go in his favor."We're sick of hearing Trump -- his ignorant remarks," said resident Clarice Thompson, a retired reading tutor who came out in the evening rain to support Cruz. Voters here were still mulling the nonaggression pact Cruz reached with Ohio Gov. John Kasich to allow only the Texan to seriously compete in Indiana, in a swap that gave Kasich a chance in New Mexico and Oregon."It seems kind of different," she said. "If it keeps Trump out, go for it."Polls showed the race narrowing between Cruz and Trump ahead of Tuesday's voting.Or, as they say in this fabled movie-set gym: jump ball.The question has long hovered over Donald Trump: Will the polarizing candidate ever be able to unite Republicans in a general election?There's some evidence in early results from Tuesday's exit polls that it may not be as difficult for him as it once seemed.Only about a quarter of Republican voters surveyed said they would rule him out in a general election.
That figure is only a little worse than those for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders among Democratic voters. The evidence, however, is not conclusive. The early exit poll results come from three states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut -- where Trump's support is already fairly high among the Republican electorate. So it would follow that the percentage who find him unpalatable would be lower.Donald Trump always figured to have a good day when voters in Pennsylvania and four other Eastern states went to the polls. Just how good may determine whether he wraps up the GOP presidential nomination by summertime or has to fight all the way to the Republican National Convention in July.Coming off a landslide victory last week in his home state of New York, the Manhattan business mogul was strongly favored to sweep all five states Tuesday and pad his substantial delegate lead over rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.Starting the day, Trump had 845 delegates. Texas Sen. Cruz, with 559, and Ohio Gov. Kasich, with 148, forged a tenuous noncompete agreement this week to try to stop the front-runner and wrestle the nomination away at the Cleveland convention.Read moreIt's the classic ground game and political skills vs. national figure and air war. That's what it's coming down to.
Bernie Sanders could be all but blocked from winning the Democratic nomination for president after Pennsylvania and four nearby states hold primaries Tuesday, but the Vermonter will fight on — and not necessarily because he sees a path to victory.With Hillary Clinton’s campaign expected to declare she has effectively clinched the nomination, Sanders signaled Tuesday that he will keep amassing delegates to mount a vigorous effort at the party’s convention in July to push the Democratic Party platform left on the issues that fueled his insurgent campaign.Clinton heads into Tuesday’s voting in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island strongly favored to further expand her lead of 275 pledged delegates over Sanders. That would make it nearly impossible for Sanders to catch up, even with voting on June 7 in the biggest prize of the race, California.Read moreChilly, drizzly weather didn’t appear to be affecting turnout in Rhode Island, one of five states voting Tuesday.In the Democratic contest, the state is Bernie Sanders' best hope of the bunch.As he walked into a polling place at a firefighters’ station here, Brian Campbell, a retired mail carrier, said he planned to vote for the Vermont senator because of his principled stands — and Campbell's own disdain for front-runner Hillary Clinton.“She’s a carpetbagger. She’s a Republican,” said Campbell, 65. “When I was backing L.B.J. in 1964, she was backing [Barry Goldwater], and nothing’s changed.”Campbell added that the next president needs to focus on the poor and the unemployed, issues he thinks Sanders would champion.“He’s really trying to stop the country from being overwhelmed by the corporate interests,” he said.But other Democrats said they feared that Sanders was damaging the party’s prospects in the fall by continuing his campaign as the odds of winning the nomination grow increasingly unlikely.“He’s staying in too long right now,” said Brock Dufour, 62. “I think he’s hooked on his own platform.”Dufour, who worked in building maintenance before he retired, said he was proud to cast a ballot for Clinton because of her long resume: secretary of State, senator, first lady and attorney.“She’s earned it,” he said. “It’s just that simple.”On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump held a rally near here on Monday and is expected to do well in Tuesday's primaries.After Tammy Stone, a baker, cast her ballot for Trump, she said he was a breath of fresh air. “He’s saying a lot of things people wish they could say,” said the 54-year-old. “He’s not like other politicians; he doesn’t sugarcoat anything.”Her top priority is national security. She says she doesn’t know that Trump needs to build the huge wall he promises along the Mexican border, but she trusts he would increase scrutiny of who is entering the nation.“Our borders have to be watched a little more closer,” she said.On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, not far from the Philadelphia Learning Academy in West Philadelphia, support for Bernie Sanders was much more evident. Students backing the Vermont senator set up stands along Locust Walk that highlighted some of the issues championed by Sanders, such as free college tuition. Moreover, campaign staff was pointing students to polling locations in a last-minute get-out-the vote effort. Abigail Lowenthal, 20, who is a double major in English and cinema at Penn, was headed to class Tuesday after casting a ballot in support of Sanders. Lowenthal said she was torn between supporting Sanders or Hillary Clinton. "He supports the everyday person," Lowenthal said. "Not everyone on this campus knows what it's like to have to struggle, but I think it's important to have someone who is fighting for everyone ... someone who has passion in what they're fighting for."Lowenthal said she ultimately will support whomever is the Democratic nominee, and conceded that Sanders has an uphill climb. "Still, it's good for Democrats to battle," she said. "Nothing should be easy."Etienne Jacquot, 20, works in IT services at Penn and is not a student, supported Sanders. Unlike Lowenthal, Jacquot, said he will not support Clinton should she become the nominee."She's not a true progressive," Jacquot said, noting that he'll be content sitting out the November elections should Clinton win the nomination. Laura Schiller, chief of staff to Sen. Barbara Boxer, is leaving next week to work for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, the senator's office confirmed Tuesday.Schiller has been with Boxer's staff for more than a decade. Boxer, a longtime Clinton supporter, is retiring in January after more than two decades in Washington.Politico reported that Schiller will replace Maura Keefe, who has been Clinton's congressional liaison since November.Before joining Boxer's staff, Schiller worked as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as a speech writer for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.As voters filed inside a polling location in West Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, the overall consensus was support for Hillary Clinton. Rob Troy, 69, who worked for 25 years removing asbestos from this city’s row houses, said he was a lifelong Democrat. “This is a loyalty thing,” he said. “The Clintons have been loyal to Democrats, to the black community. They’ve been with us.” Troy, who cast his ballot at a Philadelphia Learning Academy campus, said he was skeptical of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “I’m a lifelong Democrat; so is Hillary. The other guy [Sanders] isn’t,” he said, alluding to Sanders’ past identification as an independent. “That means something to me. … I vote for Democrats.”For Sabrina Hunter, 55, a nurse, her vote for Clinton was in anticipation of the general election and with Republican front-runner Donald Trump in mind. “This is about defeating Trump,” she said after voting on her lunch break. “Hillary can; Bernie can’t.”Voters at a precinct in Philadelphia's Chinatown explain how they cast their ballots.